National biosafety laboratory
The predecessor of National Biosafety Laboratory (NBL) the Smallpox laboratory was built in 1967. Recognized the threat caused by the dangerous pathogens the Hungarian government together with the European Union in the frame of the PHARE project established the NBL with the aim to strengthen the Schengen borders. The “engine” of the PHARE project and the first head of NBL was Professor Dr. György Berencsi. The work started in 2002 and since 2007 the NBL has been granted the Operational Permission by the authorities. NBL as a part of the Division of Microbiological Reference Laboratories at National Public Health Center is the only functioning high containment public health biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory working with risk group 3/4 pathogens of public health importance and bioterrorism. In accordance with the Decree No. 18/1998. (VI.3.) of the Minister of Public Health on “the necessary epidemiological measures for the prevention of infectious diseases” National Public Health Center with NBL has the exclusive legal right to perform microbiological diagnosis of Risk Group 3-4 infections. The diagnostic capability is continuously tested by international external quality assurance. Broad spectra of microbiological methods are established and used such as molecular techniques (qPCR, sequencing), versatile classical methods (e.g. isolation, neutralization test, antibiotic susceptibility test) and new cutting-edge techniques (MALDI-TOF and whole genome sequencing with bioinformatics analysis). NBL can provide training both under BSL-3 and 4 levels and participates in numerous national and international co-operations and belongs to several networks, such as ERINHA where the NBL is assigned to represent Hungary by the Governmental Decree 1543/2017 (VII.18). The NBL consists of two independently operating parts: the two-room BSL-3+ laboratory with a two-person glove-box and the three-room BSL-4 suit-based laboratory.
The National Biosafety Laboratory BSL-3+ unit consists of two rooms: one room with BSC-2 cabinets for working with RG3 viruses and vegetative bacteria and one with a two-person glove box for working with B. anthracis. The BSL-3+ unit is equipped with the standard laboratory and with a 9-cage individually ventilated animal cages system for small animals.
The National Biosafety Laboratory BSL-4 unit is a positive pressurize suit unit and consist of three rooms. The BSL-4 unit is equipped with the standard laboratory equipment and a 56-cage individually ventilated animal cages system for small animals (mice, quail and hamster) and small volume ultracentrifuge (up to 1Mg).