KARACHI - Biosecurity must be ensured in laboratories and lab workers must be trained to use, carry and properly dispose of infected samples and other sensitive materials.

This was stressed by renowned microbiologist and Vice-Chancellor of Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi on Thursday. She was of the view that the lab equipment must be safe from bacteria. Laboratory access should be strictly controlled and unauthorized individuals must not go inside the laboratory.

Dr Shahana maintained that the biosafety violations are common in Pakistan and there is almost no safeguard provided to laboratory workers. Health and security of the workers are compromised in the country. Biosafety and biosecurity are dire need of the modern day and sensitization must be there for biosafety since “we are highly exposed to the biological and environmental hazards in our daily lives”.

She called for establishing biosafety committees in institutions and appointment of biosafety officers and added that biosafety officers have extensive career opportunities abroad.

Dr Shahana was of the view that around 2,000 diagnostic laboratories are functioning in Karachi and many of them “throw the blood samples in drains which is a great cause of various infections to humans and animals”.

"It costs almost two million dollars and takes 10 to 15 years to develop a new antibiotic. Worldwide misuse of antibiotics has become almost common. Doctors prescribe antibiotics without diagnostic lab results leading to “alarming antibiotic resistance which is a great cause of concern for pharmaceutical industry", she added.