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New lab for infectious diseases research

Erasmus MC opens a new laboratory for the safe conduct of infectious diseases research.

First exposure
Novel infectious diseases are a threat to public health, e.g. recent outbreaks of avian influenza and SARS. Also some classic diseases such as tuberculosis continue to be very problematic. First exposure of people and animals occurs more frequently driven by international trade and travel, and climate change. Infectious diseases make individuals suffer and may be lethal, but also bring economic losses and sometimes even societal disruption.

Martje Fentener van Vlissingen, Head of the Erasmus MC animal research facility including the BSL3:  "Safe laboratories are indispensible for the study of infectious agents, their identity, their origin and their transmission properties. The new facility is compliant with all most recent requirements and recommendations regarding biosafety and biosecurity that apply for the safe handling of hazardous infectious agents. The provisions include special air handling systems that maintain underpressure, airlocks and systems for decontamination and sterilization."

Emerging diseases
"There is the need to investigate outbreaks as these emerge, and how to minimize their impact and spreading but there is also a need for strategic research to study how emerging diseases come about by altered characteristics of infectious agents and agent-host interaction", says Fentener van Vlissingen. "Experimental research is necessary for better prevention by the development of innovative diagnostics and vaccines, and for the treatment of infections in patients."

The Bio Safety Level 3-laboratory is opened officially today at an international symposium for the occasion, by Mayor Cor Lamers of Schiedam, also vice president of the Safety Region Rotterdam- Rijnmond, with the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board of Erasmus MC present.

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Date published: 6 April 2018.

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