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Preparedness and capacity building for emerging epidemics

European Network of P4 Laboratories

EC contribution
: € 697 165,84
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/10/2007
Project type:
: Public Health Programme
: BSL-4, biosafety, laboratory network, biosafety, viral diagnostics
Project Number
: 2006208


The European Network of P4 Laboratories (ENP4Lab) will build on experience gained from the previous Euronet-P4 project - preserving and strengthening collaboration among European P4 laboratories - and will undertake efforts to further enhance preparedness. The project partners will do so by focusing on the harmonisation and standardisation of existing practices, biosafety and biosecurity issues that are connected with the laboratory diagnosis of group 4 agents, as well as by considering the European enlargement process that will lead to the inclusion of new laboratories in the preexisting network.

There are three means to achieve this: (1) organisation of meetings of network partners and invited experts on biosafety or diagnostic issues for group 4 agents; (2) design and evaluation of a biosafety checklist to be used as an assessment tool for audits of new P4 laboratories; and (3) implementation of Quality Assurance exercises and a feasibility study on the operation of a deployable laboratory for outbreak investigations within or outside Europe.


The group 4 infectious agents must be handled in high containment laboratories classified as Biosafety Level 4. To date, such facilities in the European Community are operative in five countries only: Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, and the UK. Over the past two years, cooperation has been initiated under the Euronet-P4 project, and has led to the creation of a European network of P4 laboratories (Euronet-P4), for the exchange of procedures (regarding diagnostics and biosafety), reagents and staff for training, which need to be reinforced. Activities are directed towards filling the gaps identified in the area of group 4 agents diagnostics:

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