In the summer of 2014, lapses in biosafety practices in Federal laboratories served as a reminder of the importance of constant vigilance over the implementation of biosafety standards.
As a result of these biosafety lapses, on August 18, 2014, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology John Holdren issued a memorandum, titled, “Enhancing Biosafety and Biosecurity in the United States, “which urged all United States Government departments and agencies that work with infectious agents to take immediate and long-term steps to enhance safety and security of research to minimize the potential for future incidents. All United States Government departments and agencies that possess, use, or transfer human, animal, or plant infectious agents or toxins were urged to perform a Safety Stand-Down, to include an immediate sweep of their facilities to verify that all Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) in their possession were appropriately registered, stored, and disposed of in accordance with applicable regulations.
Departments and agencies provided written documentation of activities, including facility sweeps, comprehensive safety, security and inventory activities, and captured best practices and plans for systemic strengthening of biosafety oversight. These results are summarized below. Staff from across the United States Government embraced this effort. Going forward, the United States Government will support and reinforce this strong culture of responsibility, which is essential to protecting laboratory personnel and the public.
|Biosafety and Biosecurity in the United States Fact Sheet||523.85 KB|