University of Wyoming opens BSL-3 lab

A new $25 million biosafety level 3 laboratory has opened at the University of Wyoming in Laramie in order to diagnose diseases like plague and brucellosis and to develop vaccines for these potential pathogens.

The lab is part of a 20,000-square-foot addition to the university, The Examiner reports. A total of 1,280 square feet will be used for the BSL-3 lab, while 2,600 square feet will serve as a BSL-2 lab. Other modifications to the university include a 5,860-square-foot renovation of the Department of Veterinary Sciences and an existing BSL-2 lab.

The new BSL-3 lab will give researchers an opportunity “to work to help diagnose or identify diseases such as brucellosis and plague in a safe manner for the community as well as for our faculty and staff members,” UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey said, The Examiner reports.

BSL-3 laboratories are used for diagnostic, teaching, clinical, research and production facilities that work with exotic or indigenous agents that have the ability to cause serious or potentially lethal disease if inhaled. Some of these agents include anthrax, tuberculosis and Rickettsia rickettsii.

The four levels of biosafety are established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are based on the danger the organism presents and the level of containment.