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Europe-wide activities to improve biosafety and biosecurity performed within the frameworks of the European Union (EU)-funded Joint Actions EMERGE and QUANDHIP led to the development of an Integrated European Checklist for Laboratory Biorisk Management (ECL).

To better understand different approaches shaping biorisk management (BRM) systems on an operational level in high containment laboratories, the ECL was used to map the implementation of BRM in 32 high containment laboratories in 18 countries in Europe. The results suggest that the BRM elements referring to standard microbiological working practices and the handling of infectious material were fulfilled particularly well. The elements safety exercises involving internal and external emergency responders, and appropriate decommissioning plans were not fulfilled particularly well. BRM in Biosafety Level (BSL) 4 laboratories handling Risk Group (RG) 4 viruses appear to vary among each other less than BSL3 laboratories handling RG 3 bacteria. It is important to agree on comparable regulations in Europe as high containment laboratories are indispensable for a safe, quick and effective response to public health threats. As high containment laboratories may also present a public health risk it is crucial to have robust BRM on organisational and operational levels.


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