The facility at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine is only the second lab in the country to receive the highest security clearance for such research.
Scientists at the so-called Biosafety Level 4 laboratory will work with potentially lethal viruses such as Ebola and Lassa fever, as well as infectious diseases. A specially sealed-off insectarium will hopefully provide insights into how viruses and parasites are transmitted – such as malaria by mosquitoes.
"Even in our temperate climes, tropical diseases present a growing challege in light of global warming," German Health Ministry Ulla Schmidt said at the lab's opening.
The €30-million expansion at the institute will add some 3,000 square metres of extra space to the facility.
A lab in Marburg in Hesse is the only other BSL 4 facility in Germany.