The International Biosafety Compendium A Great Tool for Biosafety

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					       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

                                               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              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 or Esmeralda.Prat@
Russia, Switzerland, UK, and USA.             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.