(KLFY)- The road to COVID-19’s Pfizer vaccine passed through Acadiana, at UL Lafayette’s Research Center.

Francois Villinger serves as director of the facility in New Iberia.

It is the nation’s largest academically non-human primate research center.

Their work focuses on bringing medical treatment and vaccines to the public.

The expertise of scientists qualified them to test the vaccine before it became available for emergency use.

“The advantage of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is that they are made of MRNA which is synthetic so it can be done quickly,” Villinger explains.

Researchers in New Iberia have worked on cures and vaccines for deadly diseases like HIV, the flu, and Ebola.

Villinger says work on the COVID vaccine began last spring and the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine was determined through vaccinating and monitoring primates.

“The MRNA technology was quick. Once it was tested on rodents, it was tested here. The immune response is similar to humans,” continues Villinger.