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Jan 18, 2022 / 15:32

Vietnam’ biosafety level-3 laboratory goes into operation with support from JICA

Vietnam’s biosafety level-3 laboratory would enhance Pasteur Institute's capacity of handling samples.

The Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City (PI HCMC) inaugurated on January 17 its Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory (BSL-3), which was built with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

For the new laboratory, JICA has provided the air conditioning system, the wastewater treatment equipment, and the double door autoclave, with a total value of nearly VND40 billion (US$1.75 million).

 Ribbon-cutting ceremony of BSL-3 at PI HCMC, from the left: Vice Director Hoang Quoc Cuong, Vice Director of PI HCMC Nguyen Vu Thuong, Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office Shimizu Akira, Consul General of Japan in HCMC Watanabe Nobuhiro, Project Expert Kai Masanori. Photo: JICA

Addressing the ceremony, Vice Director of PI HCMC Hoang Quoc Cuong expressed his deep thanks to the stakeholders.

“The biosafety laboratory was built from June 2021. During the construction process, despite facing many difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as restriction measures, but with the enthusiastic help of the Ministry of Health, NIHE, JICA and other parties, the project was completed in half a year,” Cuong said.

Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office Shimizu Akira said that the new lab would enhance PI HCMC capacity for handling samples.

“We hope that this support of JICA will help Vietnam further strengthen the ability to deal with infectious diseases,” Shimizu Akira added. 

To help Vietnam safely handle and deal with high-risk pathogens, Japan’s Official Development Cooperation (ODA) has supported the construction of BSL-3 laboratory for the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) in 2006, the mobile BSL-3 laboratory at PI HCMC and enhanced the capacity of the laboratory system.

Vice Director of PI HCMC Nguyen Vu Thuong (left) and Consul General of Japan in HCMC Watanabe Nobuhiro (right) at the inauguration ceremony of BSL-3. Photo: JICA

From November 2021, the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases, NIHE and Miki Hideki, a Japanese expert working at PI HCMC, has conducted training on laboratory operation for PI HCMC staff.

“JICA will continue to work under the direction of the Japanese Government to support Vietnam’s efforts to combat new strains of Covid-19,” Shimizu Akira said.

Earlier, in late 2021, JICA handed over a batch of medical equipment including 5 ventilators, 5 electrocardiogram measuring devices and 7 infant incubators to the Hue Central Hospital.

This batch was the first support within the framework of the technical cooperation project entitled “The Project for Enhancing Hue Central Hospital Capabilities in responding to SARS-COV-2”.

The project will deliver all together 6 batches of 11 different types of equipment, with a total value of roughly VND39.3 billion (US$1.75 million).

In Thua Thien Hue and the neighboring provinces, the number of new infections per day is on the rise. There is concern that the number of infected people will increase rapidly due to the intensification of mobility in the days nearing the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at the end of January 2022.

On December 28, 2021, JICA also provided 168,000 kits of rapid antigen test (Trueline, Medicon) to Vietnam's health ministry worth about VND9.8 billion (US$430,013).

JICA will continue to work with the Japanese Government to support Vietnam with measures against infectious diseases, including Covid-19.