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CSU Infectious Disease Research Center works toward Ebola vaccine

The Department of Defense awarded Colorado State University’s Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing and Academic Research Center (BioMARC) a $2 million grant to develop and manufacture an Ebola vaccine.

Dr. Rick Lyons, director of the Infectious Disease Research Center and chief scientific officer of the Infectious Disease Supercluster at CSU, said that the University is one of a few schools in the United States with the safety procedures in place to create the vaccine. He said that the virus will not be on CSU campus.

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“We’re unique in that we have bio safety levels two and three,” Lyons said.

Lyons said that, though Ebola is serious, many other issues face the United States.

“We should be more concerned about influenza,” Lyons said. “That kills so many more people than this virus … The United States isn’t like West Africa. We have the safety measures in place, so that we can mitigate this.”

CSU’s Vice President for Research, Dr. Alan Rudolph, said that BioMARC has been inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While they are making progress, Lyons said that the work is time-consuming.

“We have a lot of development to do with it still,” Lyons said. “Obviously, we still have a lot of testing. This isn’t anything that’s going to be ready for several months or even a year.”

According to Rudolph, the vaccine developed at CSU will be developed for human testing by other organizations.

Patrick Bener, the business development manager of BioMARC, said that the contract aligns with CSU values. His job is to ensure BioMARC finds contracts that are beneficial for the University and the community.

“It’s something that meets the mission of CSU, which is to provide services that will help the people of the world,” Bener said. “Being able to assist the government and the department of defense is a really exciting development.”

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Diversity Beat Reporter Hannah Ditzenberger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @h_ditzenberger.

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