Services of the Biology Division

The Biology Division is the specialist authority of the Spiez Laboratory for protection against biological threats and hazards. Its core tasks include analysis and diagnosis of highly pathogen germs and toxins. The Biology Division runs an accredited test laboratory for the detection of biological agents and also offers other non-accredited detection methods. All services are provided in accordance with international standards with internal and external quality checks.

Bacteriology Branch:

The Bacteriology Branch is specialised in detecting risk group BSL 3 bacteria (Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, Coxiella burnetii, Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei). Whether for dealing with deliberate dissemination or making a clinical diagnosis, rapid and reliable identification is of paramount importance.

Medical Biochemistry Monitoring Unit:

Nerve agents or other organic phosphates can cause a surplus of the neurotransmitter substance acetylcholine and thus muscle tremors, cramps and slack paralysis that can be lethal. Persons working with such substances must, therefore, be examined periodically.

Toxinology Branch:

For the Toxinology Branch the detection of ricin and saxitoxin stand to the fore, both substances that relate to the Chemical Weapons convention (CWC). Their range of analyses also includes the botulinum neurotoxin und enterotoxin B of staphylococci that belong to the ‘dirty dozen’ list of biological agents as well as further food toxins.

Virology Branch:

The Virology Branch is specialised in detecting human pathogen viruses belonging to the BSL 2, 3 and 4 risk groups that can be used as biological warfare agents but are also epidemiologically relevant for national civil protection.


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