Challenges in the establishment of a biosafety testing laboratory for COVID-19 in Bangladesh

  • SM Rashed Ul Islam Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8164-5905
  • Tahmina Akther Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Sharmin Sultana Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1508-9493
  • Paroma Deb Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Asish Kumar Ghosh Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Md. Abdullah Omar Nasif Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Amirul Huda Bhuiyan Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Munira Jahan Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Afzalun Nessa Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Saif Ullah Munshi Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Shahina Tabassum Department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Biosafety laboratory, challenges

Abstract

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.

Published
2021-12-31
How to Cite
1.
Islam SRU, Akther T, Sultana S, DebP, GhoshAK, Nasif MAO, BhuiyanAH, Jahan M, Nessa A, Munshi SU, Tabassum S (2021) Challenges in the establishment of a biosafety testing laboratory for COVID-19 in Bangladesh. J Infect Dev Ctries 15:1833-1837. doi: 10.3855/jidc.14415
Section
Coronavirus Pandemic