Research conducted at WCMC involving etiological agents or recombinant DNA is reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Each Principal Investigator in charge of a laboratory must submit a Combined Research Safety Checklist and Institutional Biosafety Committee Laboratory Registration for research involving biological agents. The EHS Research Safety Checklist acts as a risk assessment tool used to identify and address various hazard issues in research and it provides Principal Investigators with a comprehensive checklist for recognizing hazards and compliance issues in the research environment. This registration provides a standardized submission process for Principal Investigators to meet the Federal, State, and local laboratory safety requirements.
Biological agents include organism that can cause disease in humans, or cause significant environmental or agricultural impact, such as:
- Human or primate tissues, fluids, cells, or cell cultures/lines
- Recombinant DNA (rDNA)
- Transgenic animals/plants
- Human gene transfer/studies using rDNA
Appendix B of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules includes those biological agents known to infect humans as well as selected animal agents that may pose theoretical risks if inoculated into humans.
The CDC/NIH publication BMBL includes agent summary statements that describe the hazards, recommended precautions, and levels of containment appropriate for handling specific human and zoonotic pathogens in the laboratory and in facilities that house laboratory vertebrate animals.