The struggle against infectious diseases requires cutting-edge basic research on lesser known and / or dangerous viruses and bacteria. Therefore, in 1999, Fondation Mérieux built the Jean Mérieux BSL-4 Laboratory in Lyon, thanks to a donation from Jean Mérieux's family.
This laboratory is a research and study centre with the most dangerous class 4 pathogens (BSL-4). It preserves the researchers against all the risks of infections and ensures a total protection of the environment. Less than 10 BSL-4 laboratories currently exists in the world, the majority being located in the United States.
Since 2004, the laboratory is run by INSERM although it is still owned by Fondation Mérieux.
It organizes, in partnership with INSERM, a series of conferences on topics on class 4 pathogens.