Challenges in the establishment of a biosafety testing laboratory for COVID-19 in Bangladesh
Keywords:COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Biosafety laboratory, challenges
At the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Bangladesh, there was a scarcity of ideal biocontainment facilities to detect the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a risk group of 3 organisms. Molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 must be performed in a BSL-2 laboratory with BSL-3-equivalent infection prevention and control practices. Establishing these facilities within a short timeframe proved to be an enormous challenge, including locating a remote space distant from the university campus to establish a laboratory, motivating the laboratory staff to work with a novel pathogen without any prior experience, allocation of funds for essential equipment and accessories, and arrangement of a safe waste management system for environmental hazard reduction. This report also highlights several limitations, such as the facility's architectural design that did not follow the biosafety guidelines, lack of continuous flow of funds, and an inadequate number of laboratory personnel. This article describes various efforts taken to overcome the challenges during the establishment of this facility that may be adopted to create similar facilities in other regions of the country. Establishing a BSL-2 laboratory with BSL-3-equivalent infection prevention and control practices will aid in the early detection of a large number of cases, thereby isolating persons with COVID-19, limiting the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and promoting a robust public health response to contain the pandemic.
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