The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory of Rio Branco (Brazil) is the first biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory to be built in the Amazon region. It is directed by Andreas Stöcker.
It was founded at the same time as the Charles Mérieux Center for Infectious Disease, marking a key step in the fight against viral hepatitis – a major public health concern affecting thousands of patients in Amazonia.
Specialized testing and scientific research
Located within the Fundhacre de Rio Branco Hospital, the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory focuses on:
- Providing patients quality diagnostics for improved patient care;
- Contributing to teaching students of clinical biology and infectious diseases;
- Heading up research projects on local public health challenges, particularly viral hepatitis.
The lab performs routine tests as well as specialized tests for viral hepatitis – which has a significant impact on this region – and is active in the fields of tuberculosis and bacteriology.
The laboratory also carries out infectious disease surveillance as part of its research efforts in order to provide improved, comprehensive monitoring for patients, with the support of Salvador de Bahia University and in collaboration with other similar institutes in the Amazon region.
Amazonia’s first BSL3 laboratory
In addition to its biosafety level 3 for mycobacterial cultures – a first in the Amazon rainforest – the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory also features:
- Three BSL2 laboratories for bacteriology;
- A molecular biology laboratory;
- A plasmid production laboratory.
The laboratory was designed to meet the specifications of the ISO 14644 standard, parts 1 and 4 (“Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments”).
The laboratory team is made up of biologists from the teaching hospital and researchers from Salvador de Bahia University.
Two Brazilian institutions are members of the GABRIEL network: the Respiratory Viruses Laboratory of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (Rio de Janeiro) and the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing. Brazil’s GABRIEL network members have worked on a program for monitoring severe influenza and have taken part in an epidemiological study to identify the pathogens causing severe pneumonia in children under age five.
- State of Acre
- Fundhacre Hospital
- SOS Amazonia Association
- Salvador de Bahia University