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HCMC Pasteur Institute puts into service biosafety lab supported by JICA

By Le Anh

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HCMC – The HCMC Pasteur Institute on January 17 inaugurated its new Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, which the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) equipped with primary materials and equipment.

The materials and equipment comprise an air conditioning system, a wastewater treatment system and a two-door autoclave, with a total value of 200 million yen, or nearly VND40 billion.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Hoang Quoc Cuong, deputy head of the institute, said, “The biosafety laboratory was built from June 2021. During the construction process, despite many difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the support of the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), JICA and other units, the project was completed in half a year.”

“Previously, the HCMC Pasteur Institute’s mobile biosafety level-3 laboratory was not large enough, so the handling of samples was limited. We hope that this support from JICA will help Vietnam further strengthen its ability to deal with infectious diseases,” said Shimizu Akira, Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office.

Vietnam has faced the threat of many infectious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in 2004.

To help Vietnam safely handle and deal with high-risk pathogens, Japan’s Official Development Assistance has supported the construction of a biosafety level-3 laboratory for NIHE in 2006 and the laboratory at the HCMC Pasteur institute and enhanced the capacity of the laboratory system.

Currently, three Japanese experts are working on a project to increase the capacity of the laboratory systems at NIHE and the HCMC Pasteur Institute, the two key testing institutes in Vietnam, under the Project for “Capacity Strengthening for Medical Laboratory Network on Biosafety and Testing of Highly Hazardous Infectious Pathogens in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (2017-2023).”

JICA will continue to work under the direction of the Japanese Government to support Vietnam’s efforts to combat new variants of Covid-19.

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