SRC VB "Vector"
Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology
633159. Novosibirsk region,
Novosibirsk district, Koltsovo
Located some 30 km south-east of Novosibirsk, NPO Vektor, a Biopreparat subsidiary, links the Scientific Research Institute of Molecular Biology and the Design Institute of Biologically Active substances to industrial production facilities in Siberia. Vector has more than 100 lab and administrative buildings, including a large isolated virology-research campus.
During the Soviet era, Vector was part of Biopreparat, which produced biological compounds for both civilian and military applications. Although Russia has consistently denied that the Soviet Union had an offensive biological weapons program, it is widely believed that Vector was specifically established in the 1970s to develop viral agents for military uses. In the late 1980s, under the direction of Lev Sandakhchiev, Vector was reportedly devoted to the development and production of virus weapons. This research is said to have included work on loading Marburg virus into special long-range strategic and operational missile warheads, which had until that time been designed to be loaded with smallpox virus, bubonic plague, and anthrax.
As recently as 1998, Iran was actively courting Vector's top scientists and officers, proposing cooperative ventures intended to enhance Tehran's biological capabilities. Vector is now ringed by three brand-new fences and the latest Western-made cameras and motion sensors.
In 2004, jurisdiction over Vector was transferred to the Health and Social Development Ministry, and it is now a leading virology and biotech research center. Vector was involved in virus isolation and characterization and avian influenza [AI] surveillance during a 2005 AI outbreak which occurred in the Novosibirsk region (a crossroads for migratory birds).
The Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology includes experimental laboratories for performance of basic and research virological investigations involving pathogens under P-4 biocontainment level conditions.
The work on special-purpose subject ordered by RAO "Biopreparat" were performed using UKSD-25 units, that is the trials of efficacy of various developed vaccines against the specific viral pathogens and principal aerosol characteristics of viruses. Climatic static-dynamic unit UKSD-25 is designed for investigation of the efficacy of vaccinal preparations against viral pathogens under conditions of maximal protection of the personnel and environment. Two such units are available in the SRC VB "Vector", being located in the buildings No 6 and 6a (P-4 biocontainment virological laboratory buildings).
Building No 6 is designed for experimental investigation of specific viral pathogens. The works with infectious material are carried out in the isolated P-4 biocontainment laboratories. Arrangement and design of the laboratories allows to perform investigations of any risk group materials. The building is equipped with unique maintenance and biocontainment systems which exclude any possibility of infecting the personnel or penetration of infectious material into the environment.
Total floor space of the building - 6,336 m², including: - working floor space of zone 3 (biocontainment level P-4) - 1,440 m² - working floor space of zone 2 (biocontainment level P-3) - 720 m² - working floor space of the clean zone laboratories - 720 m² - working floor space of the technical premises for maintenance and biocontainment systems - 2,448 m²
The building is equipped with: - ventilation systems which maintain the negative pressure of 25 mm of water column inside the zone 3 (14 mm of water column in the zone 2), hermetic entrances, double cascade filters for fine purification; system of waste piping capable of collecting up to 32 m³ of waste water and of treating it at a temperature of 135ºC, productivity rate of 16 m³/hour; transfer units (autoclaves AGP1200/2,5 and disinfecting chambers KDF-4) for treatment of waste, suits and instruments at a temperature of 135ºC; dispense systems for disinfecting solutions (6% hydrogen peroxide and 4% sodium hydroxide) providing the treatment of the entire working area; isolating boxes (biocontainment level P-4); three independent power supply sources.
The Laboratory Animals Farm is designed for the production and maintenance of the pure lines of laboratory animals which are used in the experiments at SRC VB "Vector". The Animal Farm is housed in the 5-storeyed building with a total floor space of 4,225 m². Each storey contains 10 box stalls for animals with 14-fold air exchange. The farm comprises: feed-preparation unit housed in 2-storeyed building with a total floor space of 1,700 m²; storehouse for foodstuffs for animals with a total floor space of 1,200 m²; one-storeyed building for keeping rabbits, goats, sheep, fowl with a total floor space of 600 m²; and two lock entrances for transport.
The Laboratory Animals Farm of the SRC VB "Vector" is the only one farm both over the Ural and in European part of Russia (excluding the Sochi department of the Institute of Pathology and Therapy) where monkey-breeding for medical and biological studies occurs. The farm of SRC VB "Vector" is one of the biggest in Western Siberia considering its scale and production volume. The farm production (laboratory animals - outbred and inbred mice and rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys) provides the experimental investigations of the Center connected with biotrials of medical and prophylactic preparations as well as the basic research in the field of virology, immunology and biotechnology.
Russia pledged to transform the Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology near Novosibirsk into a regional influenza center and ultimately a WHO Collaborating Center for avian influenza as part of its 2006 G8 Presidential focus on infectious diseases. Vector formally applied to become a WHO reference laboratory and collaborating center and has hosted a WHO assessment team. Vector has been actively developing its diagnostic and surveillance capacity in the meantime, and training flu specialists from the CIS and Central Asia.
Sources and Methods
- P-4 Biocontainment Virological Laboratory Experimental Building
- Climatic Static-Dynamic Unit UKSD-25
- Anthrax THE BIOWEAPONEERS ANNALS OF WARFARE BY RICHARD PRESTON New Yorker 09 March 1998