VIEWS: 18 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 3/24/2010
ABSA News The International Biosafety Compendium: A Great Tool for Biosafety Professionals Jairo Betancourt University of Miami, Miami, Florida Throughout the years, biological safety officers However, a recurrent subject during informal and other safety professionals have relied on col- conversations at ABSA conferences and other meet- leagues through networking as an informal channel ings in recent years was the need for a tool that for sharing biological safety principles, ideas and de- would supplement the BMBL and the other infor- velopments. These concepts have evolved with the mation sources. The idea was to create a document evolution of disease and biological agents causing that would compile information on biological safety, them, as well as emerging and re-emerging diseases. that could be used worldwide and that would be eas- In a more formal way, there are conferences and key ily available. publications that have served as sources of informa- During a meeting of the Long Range Planning tion. Additional publications have also evolved with Committee at the New Orleans ABSA conference, the emergence of new and re-emerging diseases and Deborah Hunt, then the current President of ABSA the understanding of their causative biological requested I initiate the process of creating an ABSA agents. Biosafety compendium. A discussion followed on The American Biological Safety Association the characteristics of this document to address the (ABSA) annual conference has been a major meeting need for access to international regulations, guide- place for the biological safety professionals through lines, etc. This was the birth of the Biosafety Com- the years. Being able to attend these annual events pendium. During the following months, Maureen has been an unequivocal educational experience in Best, ABSA President, was a strong advocate of this itself and a rich informational source by networking project and reiterated the need for the production of and informal discussions. The Biennial CDC Bio- a tangible product. At this point, Esmeralda Prat safety Symposium has also played an important role volunteered to help in this endeavor. Maureen Best in the discussion of “hot” or relevant issues in bio- sought cooperation in developing the compendium logical safety. From containment to laboratory de- from the International Biosafety Working Group sign, from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Hantavirus (IBWG) members, as they are representatives from to the safety of research with animals, it always has different countries and disciplines within Biosafety. been in the forefront of the “latest news” in the field In this way, the compendium evolved from being an of biological safety. ABSA Biosafety compendium into a truly Interna- As technology evolved, so have our methods for tional Biosafety Compendium by virtue of its con- seeking information. The Biosafety community has tents and contributors. greatly benefited from the BIOSAFTY list created by Esmeralda Prat and I established the framework Richard Fink formerly from MIT. Richard devel- for this document. Ms. Prat took the basic summary oped an incredible and dynamic source of informa- of information from the United States, added the tion accessible to everyone involved in the imple- European community elements and the appropriate mentation of the Biosafety around the world. format. This dramatically increased the informative 64 J. Betancourt value of the document. In the same time frame Lou- • Disinfection and Biological Waste Ann Burnett and a team of ABSA members were • Emergency Response, Bioterrorism and Biosecu- designing the Principles and Practices of Biosafety rity course and wished to include the compendium as a • Risk Assessment reference document. Using the Biosafty list serve, • Biosafety Containment Facilities, Equipment, Lou-Ann gathered additional information and refer- Practices and PPE ence material that was added to the growing Com- • Research Animals, Arthropods, Allergens pendium. As a key person in Johnson & Johnson’s • Transfer, Transport, Import, Export of Biologi- International Program, Penny Holeman was able to cal Materials contribute to unique areas of international informa- • Biosafety Management tion. • Large Scale Production During the 2004 EBSA conference, the IBWG • Indoor Air Quality discussed how to make the Compendium and other • Plants and Agriculture and Plant Made Pharma- information on the IBWG available to the biosafety ceuticals community worldwide. EBSA offered to host an We feel this document is a very valuable source IBWG page on its web site at www.ebsa.be. of information on regulations, guidelines and stan- This document has been built through the ef- dards on biological safety around the world. By the forts of many people and the authors, particularly nature of its contents, it is a very dynamic document Ms. Pratt, have compiled the information provided. that will change as the regulations and guidelines as The information may be searched either by country well as the technical and practical aspects of biologi- or by topic. cal safety evolve and as new sources of information Currently information from the following coun- become available. The responsibility for the progress tries is available in the Compendium: Argentina, of this document relies on its users, the biological Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, España, safety professionals. Send new information and cor- EU, France, Germany, India, International, Italia, rections to firstname.lastname@example.org or Esmeralda.Prat@ Russia, Switzerland, UK, and USA. bayercropscience.com. Biosafety professionals are Regulations, Guidelines and Information the individuals that day to day are in the “trenches” Sources by Topic: of biomedical research activities trying to ensure • Biosafety Manuals proper containment and handling of potentially • Books and Other Publications infectious biological agents to ascertain safety in • Microbiology the laboratory and in the environment. To you, we • Molecular Biology and Gene Transfer offer this Biosafety Compendium on REGULATIONS, • Cells, Body Fluids, BBP, TB and Occupational GUIDELINES and INFORMATION SOURCES. Health 65
"The International Biosafety Compendium A Great Tool for Biosafety "