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in order to improve research capabilities of the 2nd Equipment Center of National Research Fund including the National Institute of Public Health and for the development of  microbiological diagnostics of the Center for Epidemiology and those of regional laboratories of NPHMOS (National Public Health and Medical Officer System) 

The first round of PHARE technological support has been won by the Equipment Centers members of the National Scientific Research Fund. This Equipment Center has been decentralised into 5 Institutions. The Center No. 2 has been located at the Semmelweis University Medical School and at the  National Institute of Public Health, Budapest.

  1. In the frames of this first project a Pharmacia ALS Automatic Nucleic Acid Sequencer was purchased for the Department of Virology ($ 240,000). About 900,000 base-pairs have been sequenced during the next 10 years for 6 different institutions of the Equipment Center of the Medical School (Dr. Mária Takács).

  2. A Perkin-Elmer gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer (GC-MS-GSM) has been also obtained ($ 480,000). This equipment enabled the identification of many chemical derivatives in the soil of military airports used by the Soviet Army during the last 40 years (Zoltán Kárpáti) that had been inaccessible previously for Hungarian public health experts.

  3. The Department of Morphology has assumed the responsibility for working with the Automatic Colony Counter ($ 400,000). They have performed mutational analysis of bacteria treated by different mutagenic substances (Géza Török, MD, and late Alán Pintér, MD, PhD, DSc, Chief Medical Officer of Hungary).

During the first round the 2nd Equipment Center of National Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) was supported with $ 1,120,000 of PHARE funding between 1995 and 1997.

Under project No. 2002 /000-180-02-03 the development of microbiological epidemiological laboratories of National Center for Epidemiology and the laboratory network of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer was approved in 2002.

The following arguments have convinced the ministries and the responsible bodies of European Commission, that without support the laboratory network will be unable to cope the requirements of EU.

  1. Previous equipments had to be replaced, since past East European factories had manufactured all previous parts of it. Since 1990 these factories have been closed. No repair and spare parts have been available any more, and their technological level could not fulfil the contemporary technological requirements.
  2. The technological level of rapid microbiological diagnostics has progressed into the direction of molecular microbiology. The laboratories had to be equipped with the corresponding technology, and the buildings had to be reconstructed accordingly.
  3. Epidemiological examinations require also molecular technologies and nucleic acid sequencing methodology. The recommendations of the European Union suggest the identification of the source of viruses emerging in the member states. Without sequencing facilities molecular epidemiological follow-up of infectious diseases cannot be performed. The recently observed West Nile virus was shown to be imported from East Africa.
  4. According to the recommendations of WHO, wild polioviruses can be only cultivated under BSL4 conditions after the eradication of wild polioviruses. According to the Hungarian regulations (No. 66/1999) members of 5 virus families (Poxviruses, Filoviruses, certain members of Arenaviruses, Bunyaviruses and Paramyxoviruses) are allowed to be examined only under BSL4 condition. Recently it has been detected (Emőke Ferenczi, MD, Head of BSL4/3 laboratory) that Crimean-Congo Hemmorhagic Fever belonging to the BSL4 viruses is present in Hungary, too. Many other viruses (Flaviviruses, Hantaviruses, Bunyaviruses, Avian influenza viruses, Rhabdoviruses, etc.) are only allowed to be cultivated under BSL3 conditions. Several bacteria and human pathogenic microscopic fungi can be passaged or isolated only in BSL3 level laboratory containment. The recently outlined dangers of bio-terrorism and emerging viruses argued for the reconstruction of the poxvirus laboratory founded in 1968 according to the contemporary containment levels of BSL4 and BSL3 facilities. The HUF 380,000,000 ( 1,520,000) constitutes i.e. part of the national 25 % of the total sum of PHARE project ( 9,300,000).
  5. The laboratory background of the NPHMOS led by the Chief Medical Officer was reorganised in 2004. The National Center for Epidemiology had to take the responsibility for the routine microbial epidemiology for about 35 % of the Hungarian population. Four regional laboratories remained within the frames of NPHMOS (County institutes of Baranya, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Csongrád and Veszprém). Therefore, the specified equipment had to be distributed among 5 routine laboratories including the top and reference laboratories of the National Center for Epidemiology, and the BSL4/BSL3 laboratory complex.

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