The Kerala government is employing a range of measures to combat the spread of the deadly Nipah viral infection. These measures encompass the procurement of monoclonal antibodies and the deployment of a mobile biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory in Kozhikode.
During a real-world outbreak on Thursday, the BSL-3 laboratory successfully conducted testing on the initial five samples. Dr. Rajiv Bahl, the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which led this innovative initiative, remarked, “We have two similar mobile laboratories based in Pune and Gorakhpur. These were designed to enable the laboratory to be dispatched to the outbreak site for swift sample processing, rather than transporting samples to remote laboratories. This marks the inaugural practical utilization of the laboratory.”
An ICMR scientist provided insights into the challenges of accommodating an entire BSL-3 laboratory within a single bus. “Even when constructing a BSL-3 laboratory within confined space, it is imperative to ensure separate compartments with dedicated air filtration systems for decontamination. Maintaining proper one-directional airflow is critical to prevent pathogens from escaping through ventilation. Additionally, establishing efficient waste disposal procedures is of utmost importance. This presents a substantial challenge,” elucidated the scientist.