As part of the province’s ongoing commitment to timely, high-quality health services, Health Minister Dustin Duncan today announced the opening of a highly sophisticated level 3 containment laboratory at the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory (SDCL).
“This new lab’s improved testing capability and faster intervention will allow us to do a broader range of testing in-province for a number of diseases – and will prove very significant in the event of a public health crisis such as SARS or another influenza pandemic,” Duncan said. “We can be proud of Saskatchewan’s position as a health care leader, where we strive to put the needs of patients first.”
“The level 3 lab provides a safe and secure environment for handling dangerous microbes such as tuberculosis, anthrax, tularemia, and pandemic influenza, as well as newly emerging diseases for which the cause may not be known,” SDCL Assistant Clinical Director Dr. Paul Levett said. “The opening of the level 3 lab is possible thanks to the sustained efforts of a large team, beginning with the design stage several years ago and leading to the certification by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency this summer.”
The addition of a level 3 laboratory broadens the scope of the SDCL’s existing services such as testing for and monitoring environmental specimens (such as well-water samples), food-bourne illnesses, communicable diseases and influenza. Neonatal screening programs are also provided by the laboratory, as are biosafety and biohazard spill response programs.
The SDCL is located at Innovation Place, adjacent to the University of Regina. The state-of-the-art facility opened in 2010.
Saskatchewan has had a provincial laboratory since 1905.