Public Release: 

Canada home to the first clinical study for a Zika vaccine

Université Laval

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IMAGE: Doctor of microbiology, professor in Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine, researcher with Centre de recherche du CHU, director of IDRC, and a global authority on vaccine research. view more

Credit: Louise Leblanc

Québec City, July 19, 2016 - Université Laval's Infectious Disease Research Centre (IDRC) and Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval (CHU) are proud to announce that the first clinical study for a Zika vaccine in Canada is set to begin in Quebec City.

"We're very proud to be part of the first international team in the world to complete all of the steps in the regulatory process and to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada to develop a Zika vaccine," said Gary Kobinger, doctor of microbiology, professor in Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine, researcher with Centre de recherche du CHU, director of IDRC, and a global authority on vaccine research.

The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by mosquitoes. Although most cases are relatively mild, women who are infected while pregnant are at risk of miscarrying or giving birth to children with abnormally small heads -- a condition known as microcephaly.

"There is no existing treatment or vaccine for Zika. The vaccine currently being developed will be administered to humans for the first time as part of the clinical study. CHU de Québec-Université Laval is one of the three leading research centres involved in the vaccine study and we're very proud of that," said Gertrude Bourdon, president and CEO of CHU.

"This study under Professor Gary Kobinger's supervision is further proof of our institution's global leadership in the field of infectious disease research," said Rénald Bergeron, dean of Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine.

Université Laval's Infectious Disease Research Center (IDRC) is the only Canadian centre involved in the study, which is being conducted in close collaboration with two other centres in the United States. In the coming days, under the guidance of Gary Kobinger, Dr. Sylvie Trottier and her team will begin an extensive clinical study to test a new Zika vaccine at the Canadian site in Quebec City. IDRC is currently looking for adult volunteers who are in good health and would like to participate in the study. Patient recruitment has already started and will continue in the coming days. Anyone interested can contact a member of the infectious disease clinical research team at 418-654-2796.

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About CHU de Québec-Université Laval

Comprising CHUL, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus, Hôpital Saint-Sacrement, and Hôpital Saint-François d'Assise, CHU de Québec-Université Laval (CHU) is the largest university-affiliated hospital center in Québec and one of the largest in Canada. CHU de Québec-Université Laval offers general and specialized, but especially subspecialized care to all of Eastern Québec, a region of about two million people. As a progressive organization closely affiliated with Université Laval, the CHU also has a teaching and research mission in numerous areas of excellence and a lead role in assessing healthcare technologies and treatment methods. It has more than 13,000 employees; 1,500 doctors, dentists, and pharmacists; 317 regular and associate researchers, 192 partner researchers; and 680 volunteers. http://www.chudequebec.ca

About Université Laval

Université Laval, located in the world heritage city of Québec, is the first French-language university in North America. It is one of Canada's top research universities, ranking 6th among the country's institutions of higher learning with a research budget of $325 million last year. Université Laval boasts more than 9,370 employees, including 3,685 professors, lecturers, and other teaching and research staff who share their know-how with more than 42,500 students, more than a quarter of whom are enrolled in graduate studies. Université Laval obtained STARS accreditation in 2014, ranking first in Canada and ninth worldwide for sustainable development. In 2015 it became Canada's first voluntarily carbon neutral university. The university currently has more than 277,000 alumni.

About the Infectious Disease Research Center

The Infectious Disease Research Center (IDRC) is an academic research centre sanctioned by Laval University. Its primary mission is to train new researchers and doctors who are passionate about the study of human infectious diseases. IDRC's research fields cover a wide range of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (herpes, chlamydia, syphilis), hepatitis C, and CMV, as well as respiratory (influenza, RSV, MPV, streptococcal pneumonia), enteric (C.difficile, salmonella), parasitic (Leishmaniasis, malaria) and fungal (Candidasis) infections.

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