Saturday, February 1, 2020

BSL-4 Labs and not BSL 3 labs for the coronavirus

BSL-4 Labs and not BSL 3 labs for the coronavirus
Dr KK Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

Ordinarily BSL 3 labs are enough to handle respiratory viruses. SARS and MERS were handled with these labs. But for coronavirus the labs being used are BSL 4 labs. May be extra precautions or fear of it being much more deadly than SARS.

Biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) suit laboratories are specifically designed to study high-consequence pathogens for which neither infection prophylaxes nor treatment options exist.

The hallmarks of these laboratories are custom-designed airtight doors, dedicated supply and exhaust airflow systems, a negative-pressure environment, and mandatory use of positive-pressure (“space”) suits.

The risk for laboratory specialists working with highly pathogenic agents is minimized through rigorous training and adherence to stringent safety protocols and standard operating procedures.

Researchers perform the majority of their work in BSL-2 laboratories and switch to BSL-4 suit laboratories when work with a high-consequence pathogen is required.

Tasks such as entering and exiting the BSL-4 suit laboratories are considerably more complex and time-consuming compared to BSL-2 and BSL-3 laboratories.

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