India to open Bio Safety Level-4 lab

India’s National Institute of Virology is in the final stages of completing a Bio Safety Level-4 laboratory on its Pashan campus in order to study dangerous diseases that could be used in a bioterrorist attack.

The levels of containment range from BSL-1 to BSL-4. BSL-4 labs are capable of safely containing the some of the world’s most deadly agents for study, according to

The laboratory at NIV’s microbial containment complex at Pashan is expected to be fully functional by November and will hold an assortment of diseases, including ebola, anthrax, lassa and smallpox.

NIV has imported a total of 12 biosafety suits with dedicated oxygen lines from Italy. Seven NIV scientists are scheduled to return from rigorous training in the United States that taught them how to safely operate a BSL-4 lab.

“This laboratory will not just be the first in the country but the only one in entire South East Asia,” NIV director Dr. A. C. Mishra said, reports.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has, according to Mishra, set up a special group of engineers who will manage the facility. The core group will be responsible for training other engineers to run various BSL-3 facilities around the country.

“Virologists are always the first responders in case of any outbreak. Viruses can be used as a bioterrorism agent and the BSL-4 laboratory has been designed in such a way that it can detect the virus and counter any bio-terror attack,” Mishra said, reports.