BSL-3 facility opens in Mumbai, India

Two years after a swine flu outbreak swept through the city, Mumbai, India, has completed a research facility with the capability to examine highly infectious airborne organisms.

The Haffkine Institute at Parel recently had its BioSafety level 3 facility certified by independent inspectors, signaling the start of its research work, according to

"The first of its kind in the city, the laboratory has enhanced our diagnostic capabilities," Dr. Abhay Chowdhary, the director of the institute, said, reports. "We will be able to handle more dangerous organisms, especially those which are air borne in a controlled environment. The laboratory is designed to prevent any entry of external non-sanitized air that can lead to contamination of outside air."

Work on developing and building the lab began in 2009 after the swine flu epidemic, but the center sanctioned the project after the avian flu epidemic in 2006.

"This laboratory can help find antidotes or vaccines for unknown diseases," Dr. Shweta Kothari, a senior scientific officer of department of virology at the institute, said, reports.

The institute had a BSL-2 facility in existence, but its capabilities were limited. The new lab includes a virus burnout unit, a preservation and culturing facility, CCTV cameras and a sterilization facility.