A state-of-the-art bio-safety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory under Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) has began functioning, bringing in a new-age facility for research on viruses with high potential for life-threatening diseases.
This is a dedicated modular-type BSL-3 laboratory being commissioned in southern India, coming after National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (Hyderabad), Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) and Manipal Centre for Virus Research.
While the country has laboratories functioning exclusively on research of disease-causing microbes, the BSL-3 category implies those facilities carrying out studies on risk group-3 agents that can trigger severe/fatal ailments but with less potential to spread as an epidemic, revealed RGCB BSL-3 laboratory in charge Dr Rajesh Chandramohanadas.
Labs need to be of BSL-3 standard for research on disease-causing microbes such as coronavirus, some varieties of influenza virus and mycobacterium tuberculosis. Such facilities follow protocols that contain dangerous viruses through infrastructure and engineering devices besides guaranteeing the safety of those working in the lab.
BSL-3 labs focally promotes research on epidemics, molecular medicines and biotechnology, while also ensuring instruments for diagnosis of diseases as well as facilities to develop medicines and their tests. These will guard people against new and recurring viral diseases, Dr Chandramohanadas pointed out.
The BSL-3 lab at RGCB will function in association with other high-profile research institutes, government agencies and international organisations to contribute to medical studies amid efforts to enable the public guard against potential epidemics.
The 1990-instituted RGCB is an autonomous institute under the union government’s Department of Biotechnology.