LIVE VIRUS WORKER WEB TRAINING
The use and handling of biological materials in the research setting
always requires consideration for the potential of exposure to infectious
agents, and how any exposure potential can be reduced or eliminated.
When live viruses are used in the laboratory, there is a need for even
further care and consideration of exposure hazards since many viruses
are related to human or animal disease. For those working with live
viruses at Princeton University, a special program has been established
to ensure that appropriate training, instruction, and medical consultation
are provided. This web-based training is designed to provide you
with the initial instruction and guidance on biosafety issues and help
you fulfill the additional requirements for placement into the Live Virus
Worker Program. This presentation will conclude with a test to gauge
your understanding of the information provided. Upon successful
completion of the test, you will be directed to information and forms
to complete the Live Virus Worker application and medical review.
SPECIAL NOTE: Those working
with non-human retroviruses or insect viruses (i.e. baculovirus) are not
required to be in the Live Virus Worker Program.
Biosafety Requirements and Guidelines
In the late ‘70s when work with recombinant DNA (rDNA) was first proposed,
there was a certain amount of anxiety and hysteria about the biological
hazards that would be unleashed by this type of research.
It became clear that there would have to be guidelines established that
would ensure the safe use of these materials. The result was the
establishment by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the Guidelines
for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines).
These national guidelines call for institutions doing rDNA research to
establish an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to oversee research
and provide the parameters under which rDNA work is to be conducted.
Those institutions receiving grant funds from NIH, as Princeton University
does, are required to meet the provisions of the NIH Guidelines.
The NIH Guidelines have been revised and modified over the years
to address work with plants, animals, human genome transfer, and large
scale production involving rDNA.
years after the rDNA guidelines were established, an additional joint
guidance document was provided from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and NIH titled, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical
Laboratories(BMBL). The BMBL expands on the biosafety guidelines
established for rDNA work to include work with all microbiological agents,
i.e., bacterial, fungal, parasitic, viral, rickettsial, and prions.
It has also been revised several times over the years to incorporate Biosafety
Levels for work with biologically infected animals and several appendixes
dealing with issues of handling and use of various biological materials.
Princeton University has adopted both of these guidelines as the basis
of its policy for proper use and handling of potentially biohazardous
materials. Those working with biological materials, including live
viruses, are expected to follow the biosafety measures which are part
of these guidelines.
The biosafety parameters in both the NIH and the CDC/NIH Guidelines are
based on Biosafety Levels (BSLs). The BSLs are the practices, procedures,
equipment, and facilities needed to be in place depending on the hazard
associated with the biological material or agent in use. The BSLs
move from the least restrictive conditions of BSL1 (basic good microbiological
practice) to those of BSL4 which are needed for work with highly exotic
By University policy, biological research at Princeton has been limited
to work with BSL1 and BSL2 agents.
Biological agents considered to be at the minimal hazard level of BSL1
are not known to generally cause disease in healthy adults. BSL2
agents are associated with human disease through exposures involving skin
injury, ingestion, or mucous membrane contact.
The following table provides a brief synopsis of the requirements of
each of the biosafety levels (BSL1 through BSL4).
||Safety Equipment (Primary Barriers)
||Facilities (Secondary Barriers)
||Not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adults
||Standard Microbiological Practices
||Open bench top hand sink required
||Associated with human disease, hazard = percutaneous injury, ingestion, mucous membrane exposure
||BSL-1 practice plus:
- Limited access
- Biohazard warning signs
- "Sharps" precautions
- Biosafety manual defining any needed waste decontamination or medical surveillance policies
|Primary barriers = Class I or Biological Safety cabinet or
other physical containment devices used for all manipulations of
agents that cause splashes or aerosols of infectious materials; Personal
Protective Equipment: laboratory coats; gloves; face protection
||Indigenous or exotic agents with potential for aerosol transmission;
disease may have serious or lethal consequences
||BSL-2 practice plus
- Controlled access
- Decontamination of all waste
- Decontamination of lab clothing before laundering
- Baseline serum
|Primary barries = Class I or II BSC's or other physical containment
devices used for all open manipulations of agents; PPEs: protective
lab clothing; gloves; respiratory protection as needed
- Physical separation from access corridors
- Self-closing, double-door access
- Exhausted air not recirculated
- Negative airflow into laboratory
||Dangerous/exotic agents which pose high risk of life-threatening
disease, aerosol-transmitted lab infections; or related agents with
unknown risk of transmission
||BSL-3 practice plus:
- Clothing change before entering
- Shower on exit
- All material decontaminated on exit from facility
|Primary barriers = All procedures conducted in Class III BSC's or
Class I or II BSC's in combination with full-body, air-supplied,
positive pressure personnel suit
- Separate building or isolated zone
- Dedicated supply and exhaust, vacuum, and decon systems
- Other requirements outlined in the text of the BMBL
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The Biohazard Warning Symbol
The biohazard symbol as shown here is a visual representation and reminder
that viruses or other microbiological materials are present which may
pose an exposure hazard resulting in illness. You will find this
symbol on biohazard signs posted where BSL2 level agents are being used,
on containers and equipment in which biological materials are maintained,
and on waste containers, such as sharps disposal boxes and medical waste
boxes provided in the laboratory.
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University Biosafety Manual
The Biosafety Manual is available as a resource
and reference document for information, guidelines, policies, and procedures
to enable and encourage those handling and working with potentially biohazardous
materials to work safely and reduce the potential for exposure. (This
link may be viewed at the conclusion of the Live Virus Worker Training)
In the Manual, you can find information covered in this
training about work with live viruses as well as other aspects
of the Biological Safety Program, including:
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- The University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
- Contacts and Responsibilities for Biosafety
- Research Project Registration and Approval
- Work with Blood and Human Tissue, and Infected Lab Animals
- Safe Laboratory Practices and Procedures
- Biosafety Cabinets
- Biological Spills
- Biological Waste
- Packaging, Shipping, Import, and Export of Biological Materials
Institutional Biosafety Committee
Princeton University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) was
established in the late ’70s to comply with the NIH Guidelines and provide
an oversight body operating under the University Research Board to:
- oversee the biological safety program
- review research proposals involving rDNA and other potentially
biohazardous agents and approve those that comply with NIH and CDC
guidelines and University policy
- adopt policies supporting the safe use of biological materials
and the elimination or reduction of exposure to potentially bio-hazardous
materials or agents
- address bio-safety issues related to experimentally-infected laboratory
IBC is composed of faculty and administrative staff, and also includes
individuals from Princeton Township and Borough who represent the interests
of their communities.
The Committee is chaired by a faculty member and the Secretary is from
the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA). The University
Biosafety Officer from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), the Campus
Veterinarian, a physician from the University Health Services, and faculty
representing appropriate areas of expertise are also part of the Committee.
A list of the current Committee membership is found in the University
The Committee has an initial meeting each Fall to consider
new and review existing research proposals for the academic year.
Subsequent meetings are scheduled as needed to address biosafety issues
and review any new proposals.
If you are involved in new research,
ensure that it has been reviewed and approved by the IBC.
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