The new laboratory in Vestec will enable better research into the coronavirus or jaundice

The new laboratory in Vestec will enable better research into the coronavirus or jaundice
The new laboratory in Vestec will enable better research into the coronavirus or jaundice

The construction of a scientific workplace at the Biotechnology and Biomedical Center of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec (Biocev) cost sixty-five million. The security level will allow safe work with highly infectious viruses and bacteria. The laboratory, which, thanks to its security, will allow for better research of, for example, the coronavirus or jaundice type B, was opened on Wednesday.

“The opening of a laboratory with biological security level 3 (BSL3) represents a major milestone for virological research in the Czech Republic. Experiments leading to an understanding of the change in cell tropism, i.e. the type of cells that the virus preferentially infects, and which occurred, for example, during the evolution of the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 in the omicron variant,” said the project coordinator, experimental virologist Ruth Tachezy from the Faculty of Science, Charles University . According to her, it will also be possible to study here how to slow down or stop the multiplication of viruses.

In the laboratory, for example, there are microscopes that work with fluorescence, flow cytometers that allow analyzing a large number of cells and specifically measuring each of them, or a glove box for working with risky material.

“The laboratory is exceptional in its security. It is important to mention that the workplace is in a great vacuum of 80 pascals, which is quite a lot. It can be thought of as the difference between a hot summer day and a thunderstorm. The laboratory also has means for sterilizing the air, surface, waste water, a germicidal lamp and, of course, it is equipped with its own special ventilation system, which not only prevents pathogens from entering it from the outside, but also prevents any from escaping,” said Jiří Zahradník from the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University , who will research the coronavirus in the new laboratory.

Between 2013 and 2015, during the construction of the Biocev center, the BLS2+ laboratory was built, which with its security during the coronavirus pandemic enabled high-capacity testing of samples for SARS-CoV-2. However, to investigate hepatitis B viruses, HIV or Rift Valley fever, security levels had to be increased. At the new workplace, it will be possible to carry out preclinical testing on cell cultures, so-called in vitro research.

“The goal of our research is to reveal the evolutionary aspects of the virus that we could see in the last three years and to reveal how the virus has changed in molecular detail,” Zahradník told ČTK. According to him, the research data will be able to be used in case of future mutations or in case a similar pandemic comes again. “We would like to be able to predict the development of such an event and how to better prepare for it,” he added.

The article is in Czech

Tags: laboratory Vestec enable research coronavirus jaundice


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