The University of Pardubice helps with the analysis of samples for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers and doctoral students of the Faculty of Chemical Technology examine dozens of samples a day in unique specially secured laboratories. The faculty has applied for funding to purchase additional devices that can significantly increase this capacity.
"I am glad that we use our specially secured laboratory, in addition to basic research, also for the analyses so necessary today. This pandemic shows that we made a good decision ten years ago when we built this type of laboratory. Today, we can help and accelerate the return of us all to normal life," said the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice, prof. Petr Kalenda.
Chemists from the University of Pardubice analyse samples in close cooperation with the Pardubice Hospital.
The Faculty of Chemical Technology has laboratories with BLS3 biological safety available for these analyses. It is practically a building within a building. Air flows in and out through HEPA filters, water from the laboratories travels through the collection tank to the decontamination tank, where twenty-four hours of decontamination takes place, and then to the neutralization station. All biological material is inserted into the laboratory space through a material culvert and, after analysis, is disposed of in an interleaving autoclave.
Samples for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 are analysed by six women. In addition to a molecular biologist who runs the laboratory, patient samples are also analysed by doctoral students and faculty laboratory technicians. They enter the laboratories through a personnel gate, where they change into clothes intended for work in these laboratories. They put on a respirator, goggles, a headgear and gloves. They will then use second gloves in the laboratory. On leaving the laboratory, protective clothing is placed in an interleaving autoclave, where it is sterilized at 121 ° C.
The faculty recently responded to the call of the ITI of the Hradec-Pardubice agglomeration to participate in the operationally planned project "COVID-19" and applied for money for the equipment of this laboratory. If successful, chemists could test hundreds of samples daily. "The question is when this state will recur. We would therefore like to strengthen the instrumentation of molecular biology laboratories, which are used to isolate DNA and RNA nucleic acids from biological samples. They can also be used for scientific projects in this area," says prof. Roman Kanďár, head of the Department of Biological and Biochemical Sciences, Faculty of Chemical Technology.
At present, chemists perform the isolation of nucleic acids manually, using special columns. This method is more time consuming and also carries a higher risk of infection. Without BSL3 laboratories, testing would not be possible at all in a university environment. The automatic insulation they would care for takes place in an enclosed space of the device and is faster.
The Faculty of Chemical Technology is the oldest faculty of the University of Pardubice. In June, 70 years will have passed since its founding.