Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
05-March-2013 14:59 IST
Establishment of BSL IV Laboratory

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has established first Bio-Safety Level-4 (BSL-4) laboratory in the premise of Microbial Containment Complex (MCC), National Institute of Virology, Pune with support of Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi.

Maximum Containment Laboratory [BSL-4] at MCC, Pune has been planned and designed following internationally accepted guidelines of WHO, Geneva and CDC, Atlanta.

The salient features of the project are:-

        i.            The Maximum Containment Facility is located in a campus of about 5 acres within the main campus of MCC. This campus is self contained with electric power fencing, separate 24 hrs monitored gate and security cameras.

      ii.            BSL-4 laboratories consist of 2 parts; first part is a mirror image of second part.  Each part has one main and 2 animal laboratory.

    iii.            Gamma radiation chamber is used for inactivation of samples to facilitate processing in support laboratories.

    iv.            A unique training area is created to provide actual experience and environment of BSL 4 in non- campaign mode.

      v.            Each critical component such as boiler, breathing air system, motors,  HEPA filter banks, power supply sources, autoclaves, decontamination stations etc are having 100% plus redundancy.

    vi.            Biosafety and Biosecurity are the 2 main components in designing of a safe laboratory for highly infectious agents. Stricter implementation of these 2 features brings higher level of complications in engineering features and higher level of expertise in human resources for the facility. Consequently a high level of monitoring, surveillance and data recording becomes imperative. The present facility meets all these complex requirements to make this facility unique not only for India but for whole of South East Asia.

This facility is an expansion of current work going in NIV, Pune and would be tremendously useful in investigation outbreak of highly infectious diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Avian and pandemic Swine Influenza, Nipah virus, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus and Kyasanur forest disease virus which created fear and affected at large our country. It will also deal with other highly infectious pathogens emerging in the country in future. This laboratory would be useful in developing diagnostic reagents for highly infectious diseases agents for providing to other network laboratory so that early diagnosis of such agents can be achieved, which help in controlling the emerging diseases. This facility will also serve as a National Virus Repository, for risk group-4 viral agents, where viruses will be archived for further research. As most of the viral agents listed as tools of bioterrorism are of BSL-4 category, hence this facility will also give the country the capacity to deal with agents of bioterrorism.

The total expenditure incurred on the project is Rs. 65 crores of which share of Department of Science & Technology is Rs.18.2 Crore.

This information was given by Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Shri Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.