In order to prevent epidemics of zika, dengue, yellow fever and influenza, in addition to protozoa such as trypanosomes that cause sleeping sickness, the University of São Paulo (USP), in partnership with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and the Pasteur Institute, has inaugurated a series of high-tech laboratories.
As reported by the press, the Scientific Platform Pasteur-USP has a unique structure in the country: there are 17 laboratories in an area of 1,700 m². Of these, four are biosafety level 3 (NB-3). This is the maximum level of biosafety that we have in laboratories in Brazil (the scale is from 1 to 4).
Environments classified as NB-3 perform work with agents that can cause potentially lethal respiratory or human disease in animals. These diseases, if spread in the community and the environment, pose risks and can spread from person to person.
In order to protect researchers working in these locations, as well as the environment in general, there are some biosafety practices to be adopted.
Professionals in these laboratories, for example, should wear personal protective clothing and equipment. In addition, because it is a place that conducts research with microorganisms that cause serious diseases, there must be a system of decontamination of everything that is, directly or indirectly, in contact with the manipulated viruses.
All materials and residues must be sterilized before being discarded and/or removed from the laboratory. In the case of the Pasteur-USP Scientific Platform, this decontamination is done by Autoclave Cisa.
Two machines were installed on site, and Ricardo dos Santos, manager of new business at Cisa, explains the importance of the equipment:
"In all research with viruses, as in the case of this USP project, microorganisms are active. The materials used by researchers should be discarded after use; after all, they came into contact with potentially dangerous agents. In order for the materials to leave the laboratory and be disposed of without harming the environment, and without posing a risk to the community, they must undergo decontamination".
All material asepsis is performed by the Autoclave Aquazero. The equipment has a dry vacuum pump, a technology that does not require the use of water to generate a vacuum. In addition, it has two doors: one for loading - in which researchers insert the materials to be decontaminated - and another for unloading - for the removal of materials already sterilized.
The double door version is suitable for passage operations between a contaminated and a clean sector, a situation that occurs in the laboratories of this project. Explaining better: while the first port is in direct contact with the lab, the second is in contact with a clean environment.
The secondary door opens after the 45 minute sterilization process is complete. At this stage, the materials placed in the Autoclave are free of pathogens and can be manipulated and disposed of without contaminating the air and causing an adverse effect on human, animal and environmental health.
The Scientific Platform is located at the Inova Research and Innovation Center USP, in São Paulo.
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