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Unique biosafety laboratory inaugurated in Bern

Open to both research and industry, the new BSL-3 biosafety laboratory at the University of Bern Institute of Infectious Diseases can be used by external partners for R&D activities, like testing vaccines for their effectiveness.

A researchers working in one of the rooms that can be rented.
A researchers working in one of the rooms that can be rented. Copyright Pascal Gugler

Highly infectious pathogens for which no therapy or vaccination is available are examined under the strictest safety measures in biosafety level 3 labs. The new BSL-3 biosafety laboratory at the University of Bern Institute of Infectious Diseases (IFIK) will not only analyze viruses and bacteria, but also transfer findings from research into novel products and therapies, in the spirit of translational medicine. As such, it is the only BSL-3 laboratory in Switzerland to combine diagnostics, research and translation under one roof.

The new facility is located in the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine (sitem-insel) building and is open to all partners whose work requires BSL-3 classification, be it universities, universities of applied sciences, start-ups or companies, both Swiss and international. With a floor space of 230m2, it is one of the largest laboratories of its kind in Switzerland and consists of the IFIK rooms and the rooms of sitem-insel that can be rented. Eight people can work at the same time in the IFIK area, and a maximum of four in the area that can be rented.

The canton of Bern has the highest concentration of institutions in Switzerland with infrastructure and expertise in dealing with emerging and high-risk infectious diseases, such as the Federal Office for Civil Protection's Spiez Laboratory or the University of Bern Veterinary Institute of Virology and Immunology and the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office in Mittelhäusern. The new laboratory fills a gap in the local ecosystem by making biosafety level 3 laboratory space available to researchers from public and private institutions.

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