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Laboratories essential for Public Health

Funds guarantee better research and service

The Infrastructure Program allocated to the laboratories of diverse research institutions in the area of Public Health R$ 53.2 million. Assistance, to which the researchers of the area testify in unison, arrived just in time to avoid the total collapse of research. “The public research institutions in general, including the laboratories essential for the development of medicine and of Public Health in the country, were at such a deteriorated state that, if it hadn’t been for the Infra, the majority of them would today be unable to carry out research.” The statement is from the director of the Hypertension Unit of the Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Division of Incor, linked to Hospital das Clínicas in USP, Eduardo Moacyr Krieger, president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He believes that “the situation was so dramatic, on the verge of collapse, that many laboratories didn’t even have the basic infrastructure, much less sophisticated technological equipment, fundamental for any serious research.”

The consequences could be felt in the research itself, but also in basic health care to society. After all, the major part of the research results in the area of Public Health may be applied immediately or on a medium or long term time scale. Not to mention the studies carried out in the clinical hospitals of medical schools and of institutions such as the Heart Institute (Incor), directly related to health care. Or even situations such as that of the Adolfo Lutz Institute, of the State Department of Health, and of the Pharmaceutical Sciences School of USP, which have developed studies, such as the food toxicology analysis and the analysis of medicinal compounds, related directly to public health.

Installations and equipment
The funds from the Infrastructure Program benefited traditional institutions, such as the Medical School of USP, the Federal University of São Paulo and the Adolfo Lutz Institute, but also, newer institutions, but of no lesser importance, such as the Biomedical Sciences Institute of USP, the Medical Sciences School of Unicamp and the Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty of Unesp in Araraquara.

The first step was to invest in the recovery of the installations of the laboratories. The investments were not restricted to the emergency renovation of brickwork, electrical and water systems, and to the installation of new cupboards and benches. “Before the Infra, we had to fight for space with cockroaches and termites, and we suffered bitterly with the rains and floods that hit the interior of the building and the laboratories.” says, visibly touched, the researcher Mileni Ursich, of the Endocrinology Department of the Medical School of USP.

The results were almost immediate. “It became easier to work. The quality of the research improved 100%”, evaluates the professor of the Pathological Anatomy Department of the Medical Sciences School of Unicamp Athanase Billis, after being able to use the photomicroscope acquired through the assistance of the Infra, which, coupled with a morphometry system, allows for the analysis with greater accuracy of the cell fragments of patients with damaged organs through cancer and renal illnesses.

The research animal breeding units, indispensable research installations in this area, also benefited. “A breeding unit with rigid control of the environmental parameters and with animals from strictly reliable origin, in accordance with acceptable and catalogued lineages of international standards, is of extreme importance for the quality of the research, mainly in medicinal studies”, explains Maria Inês Rocha Miritello Santoro, responsible for the general renovation of the breeding unit, its maintenance and use which serves all of the researchers at the Pharmaceutical Sciences School of the Chemistry Institute of USP.

Maria Inês studies the efficiency of solar filters for the prevention of skin cancer. For her, the Infra program affected even the psychological side of the researchers, technicians and students in all of the laboratories of the benefited schools. “From my point of view, the improvement in the quality of the work environment, in which all of us spend the major part of the day, was one of the factors which influenced our gain in production.”

In the Unesp of Araraquara, the Biological Sciences Department of the Pharmaceutical Sciences School got a laboratory with biosecurity at level P-3, for the microbiology researcher Dr. Clarice Queico, who works with the mycobacterium tuberculosis. The laboratory received the certificate to work with genetically modified organisms of high risk.