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National Laboratories opened in Pécs

25 September 2020

National Laboratories opened in Pécs

László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology opened a human reproduction and a virology national laboratory on 25 September at the University of Pécs Szentágothai Research Center. Together with these, a total of 17 national laboratories and a research laboratory can start operating, which will receive approximately HUF 90 billion financial support in the next five years.

The national laboratories, established on the initiative of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, can become internationally recognized scientific hubs that provide answers to significant global challenges by bringing together domestic knowledge centres in areas particularly promising to the national economy. Within the four main areas of research and development - industry and digitalisation, culture and family, health and safe society, environment - 17 national laboratories and a research laboratory have been established.

Under the leadership of the University of Pécs, two national laboratories start operating: the National Laboratory of Human Reproduction, which is organized on the basis of a scientific workshop and research network that already have significant international achievements, under the professional leadership of Professor Kovács, L. Gábor, and the National Laboratory of Virology, to which special attention has been paid due to the COVID-19 epidemic, led by Professor Ferenc Jakab.

In addition to the opening of national laboratories, the GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00021 research program was completed, which was implemented in four years with HUF 1.975 billion EU support and its aim was to increase the success of artificial insemination. The project titled “Using chip technology to improve the efficiency of human in vitro fertilization” resulted in a prototype of a chip diagnostics device. In addition to the scientific results of the project, significant innovation results have also been achieved: patents in 18 countries have been granted in the case of 5 intellectual properties, from Germany through Sweden to the United Kingdom, and 6 more pending patent proceedings are expected to be completed overseas and in Australia, among others.

The National Laboratory of Human Reproduction at the University of Pécs, which will receive a total of HUF 2.5 billion support, intends to continue the research of this project among other things. Reproductive disorders are significant medical and social problems: in Hungary, 15% of couples, i.e. approximately 150,000 couples struggle with infertility problems. Extensive, innovative, integrated clinical research and developments in the field of human reproduction, supported by a state-of-the-art infrastructural background, are essential for successful infertility treatment, including the increase of the effectiveness of assisted reproductive treatments and the establishment of demographic stability. The main goal of the National Laboratory of Human Reproduction is therefore to contribute to the increase in the number of successful infertility treatments by increasing the efficiency of artificial insemination techniques, thus improving the demographic situation of Hungary.

The development of the National Laboratory of Virology - which receives HUF 2 billion support - is justified by the worldwide threat and spread of infectious diseases, and this poses a serious social and health risk to all nations. In recent years, new infectious diseases have appeared and intensified in Hungary, such as the virus causing West Nile fever, the pathogen of heart and skin worms, the Usutu virus, which pose a significant social threat. The aim of the National Laboratory of Virology is to detect and identify new pathogens, create their virological and molecular biology characterisation, perform complex testing of viruses belonging to risk groups 3 and 4 under BSL3 and BSL4 laboratory conditions, and to establish a national and international level education and training centre for youth education.