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The Biosafety Level 3 laboratory at Biomedicum

The Biosafety Level (BSL)-3 laboratory at Biomedicum is a newly established infrastructure at Karolinska Institutet developed to meet research needs on highly-pathogenic microorganisms. The facility is located in Biomedicum, Solna. It was brought into operation in 2018 shortly after the move to Biomedicum.

High-security lab environment, people working in the lab.
Credit: BSL3 Biomedicum.

The BSL-3 laboratory is located in Biomedicum Quarter C9 and totals approximately 183 m2 of state-of-the-art laboratory space. This cohesive infrastructure was developed to serve the increasing medical research needs of Karolinska Institutet on risk-class 3 viral, parasitic and bacterial pathogens. It serves a growing body of investigators at Karolinska located in pre-clinical and clinical environments and is open to partnerships in academia, healthcare and the private sector.

The BSL-3 facility at Biomedicum is divided into two sections. In the one side of the facility the non-airborne risk-class 3 pathogens Chikungunya virus, HIV, Leishmania brasiliensis, Leishmania donovani and Plasmodium falciparum are handled. The airborne risk-class 3 pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis is handled on the other side of the facility. Approval for working with these agents has been authorized by the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket). Our safety regulations were established together with researchers at Karolinska experienced in the handling of these pathogens and together with representatives from Karolinska Institutet’s Biosafety Committee.

Llab envorinment from BSL3 lab in Biomedicum
Credit: BSL3 Biomedicum. Photo: BSL3 Biomedicum

The BSL-3 supports large-scale culturing and concentration of BSL-3 agents and tissue/in vitro culture work. Flow cytometry and epifluorescnce microscopy are currently available on the non-airborne. Cell-sorting of infected material will soon be available in the airborne side of the facility. On-site disinfection is possible for the rapid retrieval of equipment. The BSL-3 facility at Biomedicum is located close to the animal BSL-3 facility at Astrid Fagraeus-Comparative Medicine, where the risk-class 3 pathogens handled at Biomedicum can be used in animal models of infection.

Access to the BSL-3 facility is preceded by the fulfillment of entry requirements which encompass understanding the risks associated with the handling of the pathogens used in the facility and understanding how to perform experiments with the same in an orderly and safe manner.

The BSL-3 facility at Biomedicum receives core-facility funding from Karolinska Institutet and is one of two BSL-3 nodes at Karolinska Institutet. The other node is located in Flemingsberg.


Antonio Gigliotti Rothfuchs

Docent, BSL3 core-facility manager