L3 Laboratory: Strict management for optimal security

Highly controlled access and atmosphere …

A L3 laboratory is made up of controlled air zones in which are handled infected biological samples and class 3 biological agents such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HVB) and C (HVC).

The Biosafety L3 laboratory:  no contamination of surrounding atmosphere:

The L3 laboratory is maintained at negative pressure (compared to atm
osphere pressure), meaning that only air from the outside can enter the lab but air inside the laboratory cannot go outside without being filtered and sterilised beforehand (thanks to a complex system of filters). This prevents biological agents to escape from the laboratory.  The pressure regulation is provided by an automatic device and security control manometers allow us to verify if the system is working correctly (see opposite photo).

Who can work in a L3 laboratory?

The access to different airlock and laboratory areas is strictly controlled; only employees who have followed and validated a complete training course are authorized to work in the L3 laboratory.

Is there absolute filtration of departing air?

The air discharged from the L3 laboratory is filtered, no infectious agent can “exit” the laboratory. This is called ABSOLUTE FILTRATION. This function is intended for a complex filtration system which occupies 

a surface of almost twice the size of the laboratory. This system allows departing air to be progressively filtered through multiple filters until it is fully decontaminated before it is discharged in to the atmosphere. The maintenance of the filters is done around once a year together with a complete decontamination of the laboratory

What happens to liquid and solid waste generated from level 3 laboratory activity?

Like air, all the waste is sterilised before it is taken out of the laboratory. The decontamination is done in an autoclave secured by a double entry (see photo opposite) which allows full sterilisation of waste by humid heat (121°C for 20 min). This sterilisation allows the 

destruction of all the pathogenic agents handled in the laboratory.