KU Leuven's VirusBank Platform aims to improve protection against pandemics


In the VirusBank Platform, samples of identified viruses are brought together to ensure faster drug or vaccine development in future epidemics or pandemics.

In September 2020, the federal government decided to create a virus bank that would collect strains of all known viruses worldwide, study them for their vulnerabilities and analyse them. The VirusBank Platform in Heverlee is now ready and officially operational. It concerns different laboratories in different locations. The most dangerous viruses are kept and examined in high-security facilities. Around the clock, tests are conducted on hundreds of thousands of substances to develop biopharmaceutical solutions, such as drugs and vaccines, to combat both known and potentially future viral infections. In this setting, there is a selection of the cell and tissue cultures in which the respective viruses multiply most efficiently and an examination of the inhibitory activity of antibodies and molecules that work against them.

With this feat of innovation in the pharmaceutical sector, Belgium is leading the world in virus research; this is extremely beneficial for our own public health and that of the world as a whole.