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Ebola virus : Inserm’s P4 laboratory mobilised

03 Apr 2014 | By INSERM (Newsroom) | International

In the last 24 hours, the World Health Organisation (WHO), in a communiqué published by the UN, has reported that it has recorded 5 new cases of Ebola fever in Guinea. Since January the total number of suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola fever in the present outbreak in Guinea is 127, with 83 deaths, according to WHO, which emphasises that 35 cases were confirmed by laboratory testing. The initial samples were analysed in Lyon in the Jean Mérieux-Inserm BSL-4 Laboratory directed by Hervé Raoul, Inserm Research Director, by the French National Reference Centre for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers (attached to the Biology of Viral Emerging Infections Unit at the Institut Pasteur, directed by Sylvain Baize). A positive diagnosis was made.

A mobile P4 laboratory has been deployed in Guinea to provide assistance with diagnosis in the field. This mobile laboratory was developed as part of a European project, “EMP4,” coordinated by German researchers, for which the Jean Mérieux-Inserm BSL-4 Laboratory is the French partner.

The Jean Mérieux BSL-4 Laboratory is a high-level containment laboratory dedicated to the study of Class 4 pathogens. The biological safety level applied is 4, the highest possible level. The researchers working there wear a full body, air-supplied, positive pressure suit to protect them from all contamination. The laboratory is itself maintained under negative pressure in order to protect the environment. Moreover, all wastes produced are completely inactivated, and the exhaust air is purified by a double absolute filtration system. This laboratory is currently the structure of this containment level that offers the largest experimental capacity in Europe.

Highly pathogenic agents:
Class 4 pathogens (or risk group 4) are highly pathogenic microorganisms characterised by a very high mortality rate, a lack of prophylactic or therapeutic measures to provide protection, and ready transmissibility. All class 4 pathogens currently known are viruses, and include viruses that cause haemorrhagic fevers or encephalitis. They include the Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Junin, Machupo, Guanarito, Sabia, Crimée-Congo, Nipah and Hendra viruses.

For further information

On the Ebola Filovirus :
Delphine Pannetier
Inserm research engineer
04 72 76 82 91

Researcher Contact

Hervé Raoul (Sur les stratégies organisationnelles du Laboratoire)
Directeur de recherche Inserm
Directeur du laboratoire P4 Jean Mérieux-Inserm à Lyon
04 72 76 82 99

Delphine Pannetier (Sur le filovirus Ebola)
Ingénieur de recherche à l’Inserm
04 72 76 82 91