UAntwerp and ULB are uniting against infectious diseases


The federal Belgian government has decided to invest 20 million euro to create a unit to fight against infectious diseases. The University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) and the Free University of Brussels (ULB) will work closely together on this unique project that aims to provide Belgium with the necessary means to handle epidemics, such as the recent coronavirus outbreak. It will spur the creation of facilities and tools needed to develop vaccines and tests more quickly.

The first facility will be set up in 2021 on the UAntwerp campus, in order to conduct clinical trials on humans, which will help to accelerate the development and evaluation of vaccines. Following that, a new immunology laboratory will be created at the ULB, which will be vital for analysing the immune response produced by these vaccines. This laboratory will also be charged with identifying emerging pathogens and with developing the appropriate testing tools for any new pandemics in the future.

The goal is to increase Belgium's capacity in regards to clinical trials, and to help the international community select the best possible vaccines to control epidemics. In addition, the project will take the form of a public-private partnership.