KATHMANDU: The World Health Organisation has certified that the Biosafety Level-3 (BSL)-3 Laboratory established at the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku meets the International Health Regulations, 2005 for its operations.The BSL-3 Laboratory was certified after an international team of WHO experts found its facilities at par with the international standards. The WHO team inspected the government-owned lab in January.
Speaking at a programme ‘Dissemination of Functioning of Bio-Safety Level-3 Laboratory in NPHL’, Minister for Health and Population Khagaraj Adhikari said that the BSL-3 Laboratory should be able to come up with new inventions, discoveries and solutions against various new viral diseases to contribute to the health sector in Nepal as well in other parts of the world.
He advised officials at the BSL-3 Laboratory to also initiate production of vaccines to control the epidemic diseases in collaboration with national and international experts. “Research, testing and health counselling services must be part of the lab to find out new solutions of contagious diseases,” he said, adding that anti-snake venom and anti-rabies vaccines should be given high priority.
Geeta Shakya, Director, NPHL, said the BSL-3 Laboratory will be operated to detect viral epidemic such as H5N1 (bird flu), avian influenza A (H7N9), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus, CCHF (Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever), KFD (Kasunur Forest Disease), Nipah and Westline virus that may hit Nepal.
“The main objective of the BSL-3 Laboratory is to detect the epidemic within a short period of time and to control the pandemics and reduce health hazards and threats to lifespan,” she said.The BSL-3 Laboratory tests the sample of pandemics that occur due to intentional, natural and catastrophic germs. The laboratory is able to manage the Natural-Errorism, Bio-Terrorism and Biological Warfare which is not possible by the BSL-2 Laboratory.
According to Shakya, the BSL-3 Laboratory is equipped with CCTV cameras, alarm system and telephone system. The third level digital control entry doors have been installed for the internal security of the lab.
Likewise, bio-safety cabinets and High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filter air-handling unit have been controlled by digital building management system for the protection against harmful germs.
The personal protection equipment and respirator have also been managed for the protection of the lab experts and assistants. In addition, the laboratory has been established according to the international principles for the construction, identification, certification, safety and use.
Dr Ling Aung, WHO Country Representative to Nepal, said, “WHO’s technical support for international trainings in human resources capacity development, procurement and supply of equipment, reagents and chemicals and bringing international experts for on-the-job training at NPHL has played vital role in the development of the BSL-3 Laboratory.”
He urged the government to meet the specially trained human resources in microbiology, bio-safety and round-the-clock power supply.