The University of Witwatersrand's Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Johannesburg

The University of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology recently replaced their five Labotec Laminar Flow cabinets with Esco Airstream Horizontal Laminar cabinets used in their laboratory for teaching and research purposes.  According to Dr. Sandy van Vuuren, Senior lecturer at the Pharmacy and Pharmacology department, the Labotec laminar flows were there when she arrived at the department 24 years ago, and according to validation reports, the old cabinets still fall within the regulatory specifications.  

The decision to replace all the units takes advantage of updated modern features such as the UV light found on the inside of the units, interlocked with the blower switch for enhanced safety.  The mini-pleat separatorless ULPA filter technology, an innovation Esco is proud of, offers increased laminar airflow uniformity for better product and cross contamination protection, while reducing energy consumption at the same time.  In addition, the Iscocide antimicrobial coating on the external structure prevents surface contamination, and soft raised edges on the work surface contain minor spillages. 

The Department at Wits is dedicated to professional graduate education, and preparing students for practical situations in their chosen field. In additional to the traditional role of compounding and dispensing medicine, the movement of a Pharmacist today is towards a more advisory primary health care role, and education needs to reflect this trend.  The users of the Laminar Flows are the fourth year Pharmacy students, who will formulate sterile applications, which may take various forms such as solutions, eye drops or ointments, and thereafter test their products to determine the asepticity.  The post graduates use the Laminars in their research to examine the anti microbial activity in areas such as pharmacognosy, which covers plant based substrates and essential oil constituents.  On occasion, the Department will undertake research for private doctors, using the Laminars to provide aseptic conditions for sterile products.   

CAPTION : Dr Sandy van Vuuren, Senior lecturer at Wits Pharmacy and Pharmacology Department in her training laboratory for students alongside the new Esco laminar flows used for practical student studies on sterility.