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martes, 22 de octubre de 2019

Harmonization of Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards for High-Containment Facilities

Following the global-level Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak during 2014–2016, international collaboration with multiorganizational participation has rapidly increased. Given the greater priorities for research and development (R&D) outcomes despite the quantitative and qualitative lack of high-containment laboratory facilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where biological targets for investigation are located near their natural habitats, occupational readiness for health workers' safety has not been well-addressed, where limited global expert human resources are being deployed to high-containment laboratories including biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) facilities for case management and medical investigations. Pursuing scientific and managerial success to make laboratories efficient and productive, most laboratory safety policies have focused on the functionality of technical skills or performance, procedural methodologies, and supervision over the employees to collaborate in LMICs. The experts dispatched from advanced countries bring a long list of scientific tasks with high-tech devices, supplies, and training programs to introduce their collaboration with local partners in LMICs. However, the dispatched experts would subsequently realize their list becomes endless to establish their basic functions required in high-containment laboratories to ensure qualified scientific outcomes in LMICs. Under such circumstances where dual or multiple policies and standards accommodated pose dilemmas for operational procedures to ensure biosafety and biosecurity, all the frontline experts from both LMICs and advanced countries may be exposed to significant risks of life-threating infection of highly pathogenic agents like EVD, without any pragmatic measures or road maps to establish valued international collaboration, pursuing its sustainability. Given the fact mentioned above, we conducted a quick review of the key biosafety and biosecurity management documents, relevant policy analyses, and research to understand the current status and, if any, measures to dissolve critical dilemmas mentioned above. As a result, we found that occupational safety and health (OSH) aspects had not been sufficiently addressed, particularly in the context of international BSL-4 collaboration in LMICs. Moreover, consideration of OSH can be one of the key drivers to make such collaborative interventions more pragmatic, safer to reorient, harness disease-based vertical approaches, and harmonize policies of biosafety and biosecurity, particularly for collaborations organized in resource-limited settings.
REFERENCE:
Maehira, Yuki, and Robert C Spencer. Harmonization of Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards for High-Containment Facilities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: An Approach From the Perspective of Occupational Safety and Health. Frontiers in public health vol. 7 249. 12 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3389/fpubh.2019.00249

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