Laboratory Biosafety Level-2 for Covid Testing

The increasing number of spreading cases of Covid-19 has caused the government to continue improving and increasing the capacity for checking / testing the virus with the aim of suppressing the number of cases, which some time ago continued to soar. To test the Covid-19 virus can be applied for anyone, for those who have symptoms or do not have. This is done in order to track the spread of the virus, so it does not spread further in the community, especially for the people who are positive but do not feel the symptoms.

When carrying out the testing process, it cannot be done perfunctory and it requires a mature preparation, the category of the laboratory which is used must be in accordance with the predetermined laboratory level. A spokesman for the Covid-19 Handling Task Force, Wiku Adisasmito, said that the Health Minister had issued a circular notification regarding the guidelines for conducting Covid-19 testing, it was stated that laboratories that are allowed to carry out the Covid-19 testing process are laboratories with at least have a level-2 biosafety standard, and has met the requirements for facilities and infrastructure, equipment, biosafety cabinets, human resources who will be assigned to handle the testing, and good laboratory practices.

He said, the determination of the biosafety laboratory level is because when carrying out Covid-19 testing, not all laboratories can and are allowed to do it. As we know that the biosafety level has a level from 1-4 (The lowest-The highest), these differences in levels cause differences in the requirements and procedures for each laboratory.

For the Covid-19 case, the Health Minister determined that the testing process could be carried out at least from the laboratory biosafety level-2 to the highest, i.e. biosafety level-4. Wiku Adisasmito stated that the establishment of standards and testing mechanisms is intended for the obtained test results to be more accurate, detailed and good.

In addition to obtaining accurate, detailed, and good results, Wiku Adisasmito also emphasized that Covid-19 is an infectious disease that requires special treatment in its handling. Covid-19 is also known for its rapid spread of movement, therefore to reduce the risk of work accidents in the laboratory, like personnel who are exposed to microbes or contaminated by the work environment, the application of laboratory biosafety level must be increased.

WHO says that each biosafety laboratory has a different level of testing, based on the biosafety level (BSL) guidelines, the biosafety level consists of levels 1 to 4. Biosafety level-1, is a laboratory for testing microbes that are harmless and will not cause disease in healthy adults, or it can be said that the level of danger is still very minimal / small.

Biosafety level-2, is a microbial testing laboratory with moderate danger potential, the Covid-19 virus can be tested at this level laboratory. Biosafety level-3, is a microbial testing laboratory with more serious potential hazards which generally can threaten life through inhalation, Covid-19 can also be tested in this laboratory. And lastly, biosafety level-4, is a microbial testing laboratory that has the potential to have deadly and very dangerous effects, apart from Covid-19, one of the most dangerous and deadly viruses is the Ebola virus.

What is A Laboratory Biosafety Level-2?

From the information above, it is stated that the testing process can be carried out with a minimum standard of laboratory biosafety level-2. The biosafety level-2 laboratory is a laboratory that conducts the process of testing microbes with a moderate level of danger, for example, apart from the Covid-19 virus, the HIV virus, hepatitis B virus, etc.

Biosafety level-2 has safety equipment, facilities, and place designs that are different from biosafety level-1, the used and safety procedures are also different and slightly stricter. However, the people who work in this lab, they must be more careful of work accidents, such as skin wounds or exposure to chemical substances.

At laboratory biosafety level-2, there are procedures and requirements that need to be considered, such as:

- Must always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as lab coats, gloves, eye and face protection

- All procedures that can cause infection from aerosols or splashes are performed within a biological safety cabinet (BSC)

- Have an autoclave or an alternative method of decontamination for proper disposals

- The laboratory must have automatic doors that can close and lock on its own

- A sink and an eyewash should always be readily available

- There must be the biohazard warning signs, so the outsiders will not come inside

- Access to the lab is far more restrictive. Outside personnel, or those with an increased risk of contamination, are often restricted from entering when work is being conducted

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