The laboratory, worth JPY 200 million (nearly VND 40 billion), consists of an air controlling system, a seawage treatment system, and a two-door autoclave.

Dr. Nguyen Minh Hang, Deputy Director of General Department of Preventive Medicine; Prof., Dr. Dang Duc Anh, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE); Consul General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City Nobuhiro Watanabe; and Chief Representative of the JICA Vietnam Office Shimizu Akira attended the event.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate the biosafety level 3 laboratory

At the ceremony, Deputy Director of Pasteur Institute of Ho Chi Minh City Hoang Quoc Cuong expressed his thanks to the Ministry of Health, the NIHE, the JICA and relevant agencies for supporting the institute to complete the laboratory after half a year.

Chief Representative of the JICA Vietnam Office Shimizu Akira hoped that the construction will help Pasteur Institute of Ho Chi Minh City enhance its capability in dealing with infectious diseases.

Vietnam has been exposed to a variety of emerging infectious diseases, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in 2004. Since 2006, through the Japanese Government's official development assistance (ODA), JICA has been supporting the installation and strengthening of the biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories in Vietnam that enable safe handling of these high-risk pathogens, he added.

As part of the ongoing project of “Enhancing capacity for the laboratory network of biosafety and examination of highly hazardous infectious pathogens in Vietnam in the 2017-2023 period,” three Japanese experts are working at the laboratories of the NIHE and Pasteur Institute of Ho Chi Minh City, he noted.

Since January 2021, training activities on the laboratory operation have been conducted for staff of the institute with the support from the NIHE, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of Japan, and Miki Hideki, a Japanese expert working for Pasteur Institute of Ho Chi Minh City.

The JICA representative held that the organization will continue supporting Vietnam in the COVID-19 prevention and control in the time to come.

Translated by Trung Thanh