World Health Organization Laboratory Biosafety Manual 4th Edition

World Health Organization Laboratory Biosafety Manual 4th Edition

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Being elected as the President of Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA) is a true honour for me. I believe that promoting awareness, knowledge and understanding of biosafety at the regional and national level is responsibility of each member and trainer of the PBSA. This organization is commended in many of the national and international forums for its preventive training for Risk Assessment and management, that was much needed at the time of COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, it has promoted strong collaborations and affiliations with various Biosafety developmental programs that align with international standards to acknowledge and recognize biosafety as a separate scientific discipline within Pakistan. I strongly agree that “no one is safe until everyone is safe”, and would like to work with the PBSA team to implement this approach as far and wide as possible.

Prof. Dr. Saeed Khan
Prof. Dr. Saeed Khan, President PBSA/ Professor Dow University of Health Sciences Karachi

Dear colleagues,

The WHO Laboratory biosafety manual, 4th edition (2020) and associated monographs is now published and can be downloaded from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/337956/9789240011311-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

The previous versions of the manual described the classification of biological agents and laboratories in terms of risk/hazard groups and biosafety/containment levels – which, at that time, was a logical starting point for the handling and containment of biological agents. Nonetheless, it has led to the misconception that the risk group of a biological agent directly corresponds to the biosafety level of a laboratory discounting the fact that actual risk of any given scenario is influenced not only by the agent, but also by the procedure performed and competency of the laboratory personnel.

The fourth edition, builds on the risk assessment framework introduced in the third edition. A thorough, evidence-based and transparent assessment of the risks allows safety measures to be balanced with the actual risk of working with biological agents on a case-by-case basis – enabling countries to implement economically feasible and sustainable laboratory biosafety and biosecurity policies and practices that are relevant to their individual circumstances and priorities.

The fourth edition comes with several associated monographs to provide more detailed information and help implement systems and strategies on specialized topics. These monographs include: