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AIDS Lab – Jewish General Hospital

June 28, 2007  –  New HIV/AIDS Bio-containment Laboratory opens at the Jewish General Hospital’s Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research

Testing and research into HIV/AIDS have taken a major step forward with today’s opening of a new $5 million HIV/AIDS Bio-containment Laboratory in the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI) at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH).

The laboratory, whose development was spearheaded by Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, Director of Research at the JGH, will be used to grow the HIV/AIDS virus and to test tissue samples to determine how patients respond to various types of medication.

This is the fourth and most sophisticated laboratory of its kind at the LDI since the hospital began its pioneering work in HIV/AIDS under Dr. Wainberg’s supervision in the early 1980s.

“The Jewish General Hospital and the Lady Davis Institute deserve a great deal of credit for having recognized the importance of HIV/AIDS research so soon after the outbreak of the epidemic 25 years ago, and for continuing to support major, ongoing initiatives to fight the disease,” Dr. Wainberg said.

Dr. Wainberg, an internationally recognized expert on HIV/AIDS, added that the new laboratory, which is affiliated with the McGill AIDS Centre, is among the few Level 3 facilities in a Canadian hospital. In such a facility, safety precautions are so strict that Health Canada has permitted the HIV/AIDS virus to be studied and stored there. It is also one of only two centres in Quebec that are authorized to perform clinical genotyping – i.e., checking the virus’ genetic sequences to determine whether it has mutated so as to become resistant to anti-viral drugs. This test is an essential component of HIV therapy.

A total of 82 people have been trained to work in the laboratory, which received $2 million from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation for construction and equipment. The rest of the funding was provided by the JGH Foundation and various donors.