20 Mar 2012

NZ's first hospital-based contained lab opens

3:45 pm on 20 March 2012

Laboratory workers are hoping to be able to provide faster diagnosis of infectious organisms thanks to New Zealand's first sealed-off lab based in a hospital.

The specially contained $1 million facility at Christchurch Hospital will prevent the spread of deadly viruses and bacteria.

The man who helped set it up, Brian Schroeder, says such a lab is essential in the age of modern jet travel, where the likes of bird and swine flu can spread rapidly around the world.

Mr Schroeder says the lab would have made a big difference during the swine flu pandemic and it was fortunate more lab staff did not come down with the virus.

He believes the laboratory will be in big demand by researchers.