Containment laboratories are designed to prevent or control the exposure of laboratory workers, other persons and the environment to the biological agent in use. These laboratories have been categorised into four hazard groups, CL1, CL2, CL3 and CL4. CL1 is deemed the lowest risk, with CL4 classed as the highest. Each level containment laboratory has their own regulations, with stricter restrictions for the higher risk groups.

Containment Laboratory 1 (CL1)
Biosafety level one, the lowest level, applies to work with agents that usually pose a minimal potential threat to laboratory workers and the environment and do not consistently cause disease in healthy adults. Research with these agents is generally performed on standard open laboratory benches without the use of special containment equipment. BSL 1 labs are not usually isolated from the general building. Training on the specific procedures is given to the lab personnel, who are supervised by a trained microbiologist or scientist.

Containment Laboratory 2 (CL2)
Biosafety level two would cover work with agents associated with human disease, in other words, pathogenic or infectious organisms posing a moderate hazard. Examples are the equine encephalitis viruses and HIV when performing routine diagnostic procedures or work with clinical specimens. Working in a CL2 environment may require immunisations (e.g., hepatitis B vaccine or TB skin testing) and strict procedures will be in place to prevent any injuries., such as handling and disposal of sharp objects, such as needles and glass. BSL 2 labs must also provide the next level of barriers, i.e., specialty safety equipment and facilities. Preferably, this is a Class II biosafety cabinet or equivalent containment device for work with agents and an autoclave or other suitable method for decontamination within the lab. A readily available eyewash station is needed. Self-closing lockable doors and biohazard warning signs are also required at all access points.

Containment Laboratory 3 (CL3)
CL3 labs are required for working with highly infectious and dangerous agents, such as the dengue virus, vest nile virus and yellow fever. These are indigenous or exotic agents that may cause serious or lethal disease via aerosol transmission, i.e., simple inhalation of particles or droplets. Work with these agents is strictly controlled and must be registered with all appropriate government agencies. In addition to all the measures of a CL2 environment, CL3 requirements include  even more stringent measurements, including the incorporation of self-closing double-door access separated from general building corridors. Ventilation must also provide ducted, directional airflow by drawing air into the lab from clean areas and with no recirculation.

The difference in working in a Cat 3 vs Cat 2 lab can have huge implications from a financial and logistical perspective in addition to the health and safety implications. Cat 3 laboratories require a lot of additional infrastructure, all of which come at a cost. The Pasteur Institute in Paris have sucessfully transfered their research project involving the Dengue Virus from a Cat 3 lab into a Cat 2 thanks to vivoPHIX™.

Dr. Sarah Merkling, an expert of insect-virus interactions, has demonstrated and approved a protocol for the inactivation of Dengue virus using vivoPHIX™. Following treatment of the Dengue virus with vivoPHIX™, C6/36 Mosquito host cells were incubated for 5 days before staining with anti-Dengue antibody. No Dengue virus presence was detected. Following inactivation, vivoPHIX™ also enables single cell analysis for downstream multi-omic analysis.

Read Dr. Merkling’s publication ‘Taking insect immunity to the single-cell level’ in Trends in Immunology here.

Rapid Labs offers virusPHIX™ and vivoPHIX™, both of which offers RNA stabilisation and virus inactivation. The key difference between these two reagents is that vivoPHIX™ has an added feature of enabling tissue dissociation for single cell analysis work. Get in touch now to discuss your needs with one of our friendly technical experts.