ISS, the newly inaugurated high-biosafety mobile lab increases the “response capacity” against the circulation of microorganisms capable of becoming a health hazard for our communities

Iss 14 june 2021 - 

Our new BSL3 biosafety level lab set up inside the ISS thanks to a donation of the Bank of Italy was inaugurated today. The lab adds on to the ones already present in the Institute and is aimed to enrich its capacity for quick diagnosis, research and evaluation of pathogens, starting with the Sars-Cov-2 virus. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the Minister of the Economy, Daniele Franco, the Governor of the Bank of Italy, Ignazio Visco, and the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, in addition to the ‘hosts’: the president of the ISS, Silvio Brusaferro, and the Director General Andrea Piccioli.

The lab, a mobile structure that can be quickly deployed in different contexts, contains a lab fitted with work benches, refrigerating units, biosafety cabinets for cell culture and rapid molecular diagnostics equipment. It meets WHO requirements for BSL3 biosafety levels, one of the highest (the maximum is 4). The structure is also equipped with an innovative animal breeding department, again classified BSL3.

“It is essential to have constantly updated laboratories to study and combat pathogens, as also proven by the ongoing phase of the pandemic in which it is essential to assure the study of all the SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the national territory. Just as it is essential, should the need arise, to be able to quickly deploy these structures where they are specifically needed. Thanks to the support of the Bank of Italy and the commitment of all the players involved in the project, the ISS is now enriched with a further instrument that will enable it to perform at its best its historic role of a scientific technical organization at the service of our Country’s NHS also in the future,” explained the President of the ISS, Silvio Brusaferro.

“Organization, scientific method, strength and resilience are the watchwords that the ISS has followed with abnegation, tenacity and efficacy in one of our Country’s most difficult times,” recalled the Director General of the ISS, Andrea Piccioli. “However, we could have done nothing without the network of all the players involved, which included national and local institutions and healthcare workers. This inauguration is a further sign of the support and assistance of our institutions, to whom we extend our gratitude.”

“A special thanks to all the players of this extraordinary community,” said the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza. “If the Country has been able to recover it’s because it embodies this capacity and this competence. What we now need to do is bank on all this and invest in the competences of public healthcare in the upcoming years.”

“The main lesson to be learnt from the pandemic is to have our public healthcare competences, facilities and procedures ready, as well as the financial resources to manage the emergency,” said the Economic and Finance Minister, Daniele Franco. “This laboratory is a contribution for the future”.

“The pandemic showed that it is essential to exchange knowledge,” said Ignazio Visco, Governor of the Bank of Italy. “This is the tangible contribution that we, as Bank of Italy, wanted to make, sharing our expertise, analytical methods and data mining systems with the Istituto Superiore di Sanità – ISS (Italian National Institute of Health). The Institute is our crown jewel: we must spend much more in research”.

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