The Biosafety Level 3 laboratory (BSL3) at Biomedicum

The Biosafety Level (BSL)-3 laboratory at Biomedicum is a recently 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 180 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-group 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 interconnected but separate containment units. In the one side of the facility the non-airborne risk-group 3 pathogens Chikungunya virus, HIV, Leishmania brasiliensis, Leishmania donovani and Plasmodium falciparum are handled. The airborne risk-group 3 pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2 are handled on the other side of the facility. Approval for working with these  pathogens 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

The BSL-3 supports large-scale propagation and concentration of risk-group 3 agents and tissue/in vitro culture work. 10x Genomics single-cell RNA sequencing is available in collaboration with the Eukaryotic Single Cell Genomics platform at SciLifeLab, Solna. Flow cytometry and epifluorescnce microscopy are currently available on the non-airborne side. Cell-sorting of infected material is available in the airborne side of the facility. Help with flow cytometry and cell sorting is available through the facility technicians and Biomedicum Flow Cytometry Core (BFC). On-site hydrogen-peroxide vapor decontamination 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-group 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. As a service the facility provides training to new users and experimental support. Enquiries about access to the facility should be made well in advance so that risk assessments, permits, procedures and training needs can be addressed.

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 campus Flemingsberg.


Antonio Gigliotti Rothfuchs

Associate professor, Director Biomedicum BSL3 Core Facility

Nuno Ramos Rufino de Sousa

Laboratory technician, Operations and Technical Support

Duncan Njenda

Laboratory engineer, Operations and Technical Support

Marjo-Riitta Puumalainen

Project manager, Pandemic Laboratory Preparedness