China’s first high level biosafety laboratory has been accredited and will be formally put into service, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said on Feb 23. The lab will enable Chinese scientists to research live Ebola virus and other highly contagious and infectious diseases.
The authorization certificate was issued by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment, according to CAS.
The lab is based in Wuhan, capital city of Central China’s Hubei province, and will be used to study class four pathogens (P4), which refers to the most virulent viruses that pose a high risk of aerosol-transmitted person-to-person infections. It will be the first P4 laboratory in Asia.
“Virus prevention and control knows no borders. China has been shouldering its responsibility in global public health care security in an active manner,” lab director Yuan Zhiming said.
He added that the lab will work as a control and prevention center for infectious diseases, storing virulent pathogens as well as being a UN “reference laboratory” linked to similar labs around the world by providing a complete and advanced biosafety system.
The P4 lab is built at the highest levels of biocontainment with top biosafety standards so that it can effectively prevent infectious pathogens from spilling into the environment and ensuring the safety of researchers.
The Wuhan-based lab will not only help improve China’s capability to prevent and control outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, but also play a technical role in the research and development of antiviral drugs and vaccines, said Zhang Yaping, vice president of CAS.
Its design also drew on experience from the P4 lab in Lyon, France in terms of facilities and technologies. Equipped with a sewage disposal system, life support system, filter system, pipeline system and air conditioning system, all the air and water will be filtered before being discharged, while solid and liquid waste will also be properly processed.
The past 30-plus years have witnessed more infectious diseases around the world. Besides China, France, Canada, Germany, Australia, the US, the UK, Sweden, South Africa and some other countries have P4 labs as well.