Current Laboratory Biosecurity for Handling Pathogenic Viruses
I Made Artika and Chairin Nisa Ma’roef
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
The recent emergence of lethal viruses such as Ebola raises some concern about the possibility of the viruses being used as biological weapons. The application of pathogenic viruses as biothreat agents in the past is well documented. Although their use in warfare is currently prohibited by the Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention, their potential use in bioterrorism is a global concern. One of the requirements for conducting biological attack using viruses is successful aquisition of particular viruses for that action. Apart from natural sources, the laboratory can potentially be the source of viral biothreat agents. An effective strategy to avoid bioterrorism is to prevent bioterrorist action. Therefore, it is important in the laboratory handling of pathogenic viruses to implement biosecurity systems in order to prevent loss, theft, misuse, diversion, or intentional release that could lead dangerous viruses falling into unsafe hands. Viruses of biosecurity concern are those which particularly have an ability to cause large-scaled casualties and are easy disseminated. The level of biosecurity risk posed by the viruses being handled in the laboratory needs to be assessed in order to establish program at an appropriate level of laboratory biosecurity. A laboratory biosecurity system should include physical security, viruses control and accountability, personnel security, transport security and information security. In the laboratory, the implementation of a biosecurity system can be integrated to the biosafety plan. This review focuses on viruses of biosecurity concern, the principles of laboratory biosecurity, the assessment of laboratory biosecurity risk and how to render the biosecurity risk to an acceptable level. The review is intended to raise awareness among scientists and laboratory workers on the potency of the pathogenic viruses which can be misused and to develop secure and responsible scientific conduct involving pathogenic viruses.
© 2018 I Made Artika and Chairin Nisa Ma’roef. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.