LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS) has received a notice of award from Health and Human Services (HHS) for a $7 million appropriation in support of the Center for Medical Education and Emerging Viral Threats. Senator Bill Cassidy was instrumental in the receipt of this funding for LSUHS, which will enhance the impact of the Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) as it is able to expand significantly in the new Center for Medical Education building. Additional medical education and research opportunities coupled with the expected increase in the number of clinical trials testing new anti-virals and other anti-pathogen agents to combat infections with viruses, bacteria, fungi, or other pathogens will yield enhanced economic impact to the region and the state.
“This supports a strategy by which LSU Health Shreveport can better track the spread of coronavirus now and other infections in the future. This keeps us healthier and lowers health care costs. It also expands research possibilities to create more and better-paying jobs,” said Dr. Cassidy. The appropriation will supplement $50 million in state, local and philanthropic giving.
The CEVT, which will transition from a BSL2 to a BSL3 lab, will continue and then expand its mission as a robust surveillance site for new and returning pathogens, as well as serve as an incubator to attract new faculty.
LSU Health Shreveport’s Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) has established an unprecedented track record in saving lives from COVID-19 among a population facing historical health disparities. The appropriation fosters enhanced services to rural and often underserved populations of Northwest Louisiana which often suffer disproportionately. Furthermore, the Center for Emerging Viral Threats has been a state and national leader in genomic sequencing which identified novel variants of the virus in Louisiana. Viral genomic sequencing is necessary for national and global health security and is an important aspect in effective and timely response against future pandemics and outbreaks.
“This funding for LSU Health Shreveport’s new Center for Medical Education and our Center for Emerging Viral Threats is substantial. It provides fundamental support that will us to expand and strengthen the capabilities we have to address present and future viral threats and improve public health outcomes, all while continuing to pave the way for our institution as a national leader in this area of research,” said Chris Kevil, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research at LSU Health Shreveport.
This appropriation will complete the Center for Medical Education, which will incorporate the Center for Emerging Viral Threats and additional lab space, allowing the CEVT to reach its’ fullest potential as a regional and national center of specialization in the field of virology research and viral genomic surveillance. An increased number of novel pharmaceutical trials are anticipated to occur with expansion of the CEVT further increasing its’ impact to the economy and health of our citizenry. Expanded career opportunities and targeted workforce development will occur with the expansion of the CEVT.