Cibinong, BRIN Public Relations. Research and testing with high level of risk require special laboratories. The laboratory facilities must meet high biosafety and biosecurity requirements.

In an effort to facilitate research on pathogen starting from testing to clinical trials, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) already has laboratory facilities of Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2), Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) and Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL-3) which are located in the Cibinong Science Center-Botanical Garden (CSC-BG) Complex.

The purpose of applying this laboratory biosafety concept is not only to protect the quality of research products, but also workers with infectious agents in the laboratory and the surrounding environment.

Based on the level of Biosafety, laboratories are grouped into 4 levels, namely the Laboratory of Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1), Level 2 (BSL-2), Level 3 (BSL-3) and Level 4 (BSL-4). Each laboratory level has a difference in determining the level of laboratory’s security that ensures safety. Another difference is in the activity and nature of the microorganisms handled in the laboratory.

“The BSL-1 laboratory is intended to handle microorganisms that are not harmful to human health and the environment. The examples of biological agents include: bacillus subtilis, E. Coli and chickenpox virus,” explained Muhammad Ridwan, the Coordinator of the Management Function of the BSL-2, BSL-3, and ABSL-3 BRIN Laboratory, on Monday (24/01).

“Meanwhile, the BSL-2 Laboratory is intended to handle microorganisms that cause disease to humans at various levels. The examples of biological agents include: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Flu, West Nile virus and Salmonella,” added Ridwan.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the BSL-2 Laboratory serves as the laboratory dedicated to the service of SARS CoV-2 virus detection. Detection of the SARS CoV-2 virus is carried out using the Real Time PCR (RT-PCR) method.

Furthermore, Ridwan said that the genetic material of the SARS CoV-2 virus in the form of ssRNA + (single strain RNA +), is isolated in the BSL-2 facility. Then the RT-PCR process is carried out with specific primers for the SARS CoV-2 virus marker, so that qualitative results are obtained, whether the SARS CoV-2 virus is detected or not in the patient’s clinical specimen.

He also said that detection of the SARS CoV-2 virus from May 2020 to January 2022 has reached 32,500 samples, and detection of the SARS CoV-2 virus is carried out by qualified, dedicated and experienced BRIN human resources.

Meanwhile, the designation of BSL-3 Laboratory is useful for handling microorganisms that have the potential to infect the body through the inhalation route, or used to multiply microorganisms such as viruses through the culture process in certain growth media.

These microorganisms are dangerous to researchers and the team in the laboratory, and have the potential to contaminate the environment. The examples of biological materials that can be handled in the lab include: Anthrax, HIV, SARS, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, and Brucella.

The BSL-3 laboratory has facilities for handling level 3 pathogens, which means they are airborne. The BSL 3 laboratory inaugurated in December 2018 is an internationally certified facility. The certification is obtained from World BioHazTec, a certification agency for laboratory facilities in the US, Asia, and South America. For the Asian region it is based in Singapore.

The BSL-3 laboratory is one of laboratories that has a very good level of protection for workers and the environment because it is equipped with an air conditioning system and a HEPA filter that is able to filter out particles measuring below 0.3 microns.

For information, the BSL-4 Laboratory is intended to handle microorganisms that are very harmful to humans. The examples include the Ebola zaire virus and the hanta virus. In addition to these four laboratories, BRIN also has an Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL-3) laboratory. (wt ed: sl/drs)