Managing biorisks in laboratory environments
Closed WHO meeting, 3–4 February 2005, Lyon, France
Global vulnerability to both accidental and deliberate release of pathogenic agents is reduced by the implementation of effective laboratory biosafety and laboratory biosecurity measures.
Laboratory biosafety procedures and practices describe ways to appropriately handle and work with pathogens minimizing the risks of exposure and subsequent infection. Laboratory biosecurity concepts describe a culture of responsibility and accountability for valuable biological materials that aims at protecting these from loss, theft and deliberate misuse.
This meeting will focus on improving biorisk management strategies in laboratories and will bring together relevant staff from all six WHO Regional Offices, representatives of the five WHO Biosafety Collaborating Centres as well as advisers from the six WHO Regions.
The specific objectives of the meeting are to:
- affirm the importance of keeping dangerous pathogens and toxins safe in laboratories worldwide;
- recognize biosafety and laboratory biosecurity as complementary and essential activities for managing biological risks in the laboratory environment;
- learn about the laboratory risk issues that are important to different regions;
- highlight efforts by various international organizations to manage laboratory biological risks, including WHO, Office International des Epizooties (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICCEB);
- discuss available guidance for managing laboratory biological risks, including the WHO laboratory biosafety manual and the draft Laboratory Biosecurity-WHO Guidance.
The expected outcomes of the meeting are the development of a shared approach to managing biorisks in the laboratory environment and the identification of roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders, as well as the tools and mechanisms need to support the implementation of a global strategy.