May 18, 2015 | Lyon (France)
The extension of the P4 Jean Mérieux-Inserm Laboratory in Lyon was inaugurated on Monday, May 11th, by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Guests included Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research, Jean-Jack Queyranne, President of the Rhône-Alpes Region, Mayor of Lyon Gérard Collomb, Yves Lévy, President and Director General of Inserm, and Alain Mérieux, President of Fondation Mérieux.
The additional 200m2 doubles the surface of this BSL-4 making it the biggest laboratory in Europe with the highest level of biocontainment. The necessity of such an ultra-secure structure was recently confirmed with the Ebola epidemic. Because it was within this laboratory that the virus responsible for the epidemic was isolated for the first time in March 2014.
The increased surface area will help advance research thanks to the creation of a zone dedicated to bacterial pathogens. This new laboratory will be, along with the BSL-4 Laboratory of the CDC in Atlanta, one of the only ones capable of working on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The research and diagnostic activities will be separated and the capacity to conduct experiments and to train professionals will also increase.
The P4 Jean Mérieux-Inserm Laboratory was created in 1999 by Fondation Mérieux at the initiative of Dr. Charles Mérieux and thanks to a donation by the family of Jean Mérieux. In 2004, Fondation Mérieux transferred the management of the laboratory to Inserm, which oversaw the construction of the new extension.