SECTEI is remodeling two laboratories within UNAM

The Secretariat of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of Mexico City (section) announced that it is collaborating in the remodeling and equipping of two biosafety laboratories 3 (BSL-3) located in the Faculty of veterinary medicine and zootechnics (FMVZ) and at the Institute for Biomedical Research (IIB). In these spaces, the vaccines developed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (ONE) against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, neutralizing antibody therapies and the preclinical validation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs, in addition, scientific research on other diseases caused by bacteria and high-risk viruses that can cause serious diseases will continue .

Up to now, progress has been made in the physical part, expansion of a laboratory, construction of pipelines, equipment calibration, qualification of facilities, implementation of a quality system in the IIB and the FMVZ, as well as the refurbishment of a BSL-2 laboratory. , which will support BSL3.

Why is a space with these characteristics relevant?

– Despite the fact that there are enough level 2 centers in the capital of the country, which generally work with microorganisms of moderate risk in a wide spectrum, this does not happen with the BSL3. These laboratories seek to prevent the escape of microorganisms and guarantee the health of scientists who work with pathogens; In addition, they operate under the concept of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), that is, safety and quality guidelines aligned with the principles of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), one of the international organizations that regulates accreditation entities.

In the doctor’s opinion Laura Palomares Aguilera, researcher and current director of the Institute of Biotechnology (IBt) of the ONE, in addition to being responsible for the remodeling and equipping project of two biosafety laboratories-3 before the section, which also participates in the financing of this project, there should be a much greater number of spaces with these characteristics, “a census was precisely carried out and what we found was that there were many supposed laboratories that are working as if they were level 3, but they do not necessarily meet the requirements ”. Therefore, he estimated that there should be at least five, one for each area of ​​the country, although “Ten would be ideal.”

Dra. Laura Palomares Aguilera, researcher and director of the Institute of Biotechnology (IBt) of the UNAM. Photo EE: Special

He said that although the cost of maintenance is high and highly trained personnel are required, it is an investment, “because it means a scientific advance and the strengthening of technological capabilities that would put us closer to responding to the next pandemic that, let’s not hesitate, we will have it ”.

Laboratories, as relevant as achieving a vaccine against Covid-19

These laboratories will evaluate, among others, the vaccine to fight Covid-19 developed by Dr. Edda Sciutto and Dr. Juan Pedro Laclette, from the IIB, together with a group of researchers from the same ONE, UASLP, INDRE, and the National Institutes of Respiratory Diseases, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, Cardiology, as well as the General Hospital.

In addition, the vaccine that Dr. Laura Palomares also develops for the same purpose, at the IBt. For now, in the FMVZ Neutralizing antibody assays are performed with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in animals and studies with immunotherapies.

The development of Sciutto and Laclette is the most advanced, and together with UNIPREC, they plan to finalize the preclinical studies in the course of this year with a view to having an effective and low-cost vaccine to enhance immunity against Covid-19 ; while the one headed by Palomares in the IBt is in preclinical evaluation and development of the purification process.

Dr. Laura Palomares explains that although a large part of the population has already been inoculated against Covid-19This does not mean that vaccines will no longer be needed, since human beings are born every minute, two million babies in Mexico every year, so they will be required both for first doses and for the necessary reinforcements; “I doubt that it is an annual revaccination, since the coronavirus is one of the RNA viruses with a more stable genome,” he concluded.


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