Physician Staff Collaborate Conf Room

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Biosafety Levels

The following are broad descriptions of general containment requirements as they correspond to the various biosafety levels and standard animal biosafety controls and practices. Contact the Biological Safety Officer for any questions. Also, the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories Manual (BMBL) provides information regarding containment requirements. BSL2+ and BSL3+ are not found in the BMBL.

 

Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1)
Containment conditions suitable for work involving well-characterized biological agents or materials that are not known to cause disease in healthy adult humans, and for which there is a minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment. The laboratory is not necessarily separated from the general traffic patterns in the building. Work is generally conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices with minimal personal protective equipment (PPE) of lab coat/smock and eye protection with gloves as needed. Special containment equipment or facility design is not required nor generally used. Laboratory personnel have specific training in the procedures to be conducted in the laboratory and are supervised by a scientist with general training in microbiology or a related science. Staff training includes information on the potential risks of BSL1 agents to immunocompromised individuals.

Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2)
Similar to Level 1 but involves work with agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment. BSL2 differs from BSL1 in that: (i) laboratory personnel have specific training in handling biological agents that are or potentially infectious, (ii) access to the laboratory is limited when work is being conducted, (iii) extreme precautions are taken with contaminated sharp items, and (iv) certain procedures in which infectious aerosols or splashes may be created are conducted in a BSC or other primary containment device. (v) PPE for BSL2 work usually consists of gloves, lab coat/smock, and eye protection. Respiratory protection may be used in some circumstances where containment equipment is not feasible.

Biosafety Level 2+ (BSL2+)
This biosafety level is also referred to as “Biosafety Level 2 Enhanced”. Work conducted at BSL2+ usually involves work with biological agents that would normally be conducted at BSL2; however, the work may involve certain conditions which would necessitate an increased amount of precautions. One example might involve the use of oncogenes in lentiviral vectors. The potential for increased risk in these experiments should be considered carefully and might be further mitigated by including additional protective measures (e.g., the use of wrap-back disposable gowns and wearing double gloves, respiratory protection when handling material outside a biosafety cabinet, and restricting access to rooms when experiments are conducted). Other examples might include research involving higher volumes or concentrations of culture and/or procedures deliberately generating aerosols.

Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3)
This containment level is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is being done with indigenous or exotic agents. Biological materials requiring BSL3 containment may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure, typically by the inhalation route. Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogens or lethal biological agents or materials, and/or are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these items. All procedures are conducted within a BSC or other primary containment devices, and by personnel wearing appropriate personnel protective clothing or equipment. Enhanced PPE often includes respiratory protection for those activities that cannot be done in a biosafety cabinet. The laboratory has special engineering and design features.

Biosafety Level 3+ (BSL3+)
This biosafety level is also referred to as “Biosafety Level 3 Enhanced”. Work conducted at BSL3+ usually involves work with biological agents that would normally be conducted at BSL3; however, the work may involve certain conditions which would necessitate an increased amount of precautions. Examples would include using higher than normal volumes of culture, higher concentrations of culture, and/or production of aerosols. Also, some organisms require work at this containment (e.g., High Pathogenic Avian Influenza, 1918 Pandemic Influenza). The increased amount of precautions include elements which would normally be used for work at biosafety level 4, which would typically mean the requirement to shower prior to entering the lab and showering prior to leaving the facility.

 

Standard Animal Biosafety Controls and Practices

The animal biosafety level (ABSL) is defined by the engineering controls and practices employed, and the appropriate ABSL is determined based on a risk assessment. The Biomedical Resource Center (BRC) has the capability of housing animals at three levels—ABSL1, ABSL2, and ABSL3. The following are descriptions of the standard controls and practices used to work with rodents at each of the three levels.

Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL1)

  •  Facility: ABSL1 is employed in the TBRC and BSB animal facilities. Access to the animal facility is limited to those in the animal program and to those individuals that are instructed on the hazards associated with working within the facility.
  • Caging: A static or vented microisolation caging system is used for ABSL1 based on the needs of the animal or location and consists of Micro-isolation top, wire bar lid, plastic cage bottom and a cage card holder. Water is distributed by either a bottle or water supplied via automatic watering.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE for personnel working with animals consists of gloves (nitrile), protective lab coat, scrubs or gown to protect the user. Protective eyewear is used when conducting procedures that have the potential to create splashes. No PPE is to be worn outside the animal facility.
  • Cage Changing: ABSL1 cage changes are performed either on a table top or by using a cage changing station having HEPA-filtered supply air.
  • Waste Stream:
    • Waste generated and collected in the room garbage can within the animal room is disposed of in the general waste.
    • Bedding waste generated is sent to cage wash and dispose of in the general waste via the vacuum waste system.
    • Soiled cages are collected in “dirty” carts located either in outside cage wash (BSB) or on the “dirty” rack in the suite hallways (TBRC). Once collected they are processed through the general cage washing facilities within that specific area.

Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2)

  • Facility: Facilities for housing animals at this level are located in the TBRC and BSB. There is a Biocontainment Facility within the TBRC, which has been designed to accommodate ABSL2 work. However, the general TBRC animal rooms may on occasion be used for ABSL2. In the BSB there are a small number of rooms designated for ABSL2. Access to the animal facility is limited to those in the animal program and to those individuals that are instructed on the hazards associated with working within the facility.
  • Caging: A static or vented microisolation caging system is used for ABSL2 based on the risk assessment. The caging system consists of micro-isolation top, wire bar lid, plastic cage bottom and a cage card holder. Water is distributed by either a bottle with sipper tube or water supplied via automatic watering. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE consist of gloves (nitrile), scrubs and/or gown to protect the user. Additional PPE is worn should the animals be required to be housed in the Biocontainment facility or designated ABSL2 rooms in the BSB. The PPE required in the Biocontainment facility above the standard is a bonnet, two pairs of nitrile gloves and two pairs of shoe covers. The PPE required in the special designated ABSL2 rooms in the BSB about the standard is a bonnet. Protective eyewear is used when conducting procedures that have the potential to create splashes. No PPE should be worn outside the animal rooms/suite.
  • Cage Changing: Cage changing techniques are determined by the specific hazard assessment. General ABSL2 cage changes are performed in a Biological Safety Cabinet. These cabinets are either provided in the animal room or within the TBRC procedure rooms. A cage changing station must not be used when working with ABSL2 agents.
  • Waste Stream:
    • Waste generated and collected in the room garbage can within the animal room is disposed of in the general waste. Waste collected in biohazard bins within the room is sent out for incineration.
    • Bedding waste generated in the Biocontainment facility is autoclaved out and is then sent to cage wash and dispose of in the general waste via the vacuum waste system.
    • Bedding collected in the TBRC and BSB is collected and sent out for incineration.
    • Soiled cages generated within the Biocontainment facility is autoclaved out and processed through the cage wash facility. Soiled cages that are generated in the TBRC and BSB are pre-treated based on the hazard assessment of the organism.

Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL3)

  • Facility: Access to the ABSL3 facility is limited to those in the animal program that are instructed on the hazards associated with working within the facility. These animals are only housed within the ABSL3 facility.
  • Caging: A static or vented caging system is used for ABSL3 based on the risk assessment. The static caging system consists of Micro-isolation top, wire bar lid, plastic cage bottom and a cage card holder. Water is distributed by a bottle with sipper tube.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE consist of gloves (nitrile) under latex gloves, disposable scrubs, water resistant gown, bonnet, N95 or PAPR unit, tall shoe cover under a short shoe cover and protective eyewear is used when conducting procedures that have the potential to create splashes. No PPE should be worn outside the animal rooms.
  • Cage Changing: ABSL3 cage changes are performed in a Biological Safety Cabinet. These cabinets are provided in the animal room. A cage changing station must not be used when working with ABSL3 agents.
  • Waste Stream:
    • Waste generated and collected in the room is autoclave out of the ABSL3 facility
    • Bedding waste generated in the ABSL3 facility is autoclaved out and is then sent to cage wash and dispose of in the general waste via the vacuum waste system
    • Soiled cages generated within the ABSL3 facility is autoclaved out and processed through the cage wash facility

 

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