• 31 Mar 2017 7:47 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The safe handling of microorganisms in the teaching laboratory is a top priority. However, in the absence of a standard set of biosafety guidelines tailored to the teaching laboratory, individual educators and institutions have been left to develop their own plans. This has resulted in a lack of consistency, and differing levels of biosafety practices across institutions. Influenced by the lack of clear guidelines and a recent outbreak of Salmonella infections that was traced backed to teaching laboratory exposures, the Education Board of the American Society for Microbiology charged a task force to develop a uniform set of biosafety guidelines for working with microorganisms in the teaching laboratory. These guidelines represent best practices for safely handling microbes, based on the safety requirements found in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC)'s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL). Guidelines for safely handling microbes at both biosafety level 1 (BSL1) and at biosafety level 2 (BSL2) were developed. The guidelines are brief by design for ease of use and provide educators with a clear and consistent way to safely work with microorganisms in the teaching laboratory.


  • 10 Jan 2017 10:57 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The symposium will take place on Friday, February 3rd 2017, 14:00 - 16:00, Campus Irchel, University of Zurich.

    More information may be found here.

  • 10 Jan 2017 10:55 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    Federal officials today released a plan to help U.S. agencies decide whether to fund controversial studies that make viruses more dangerous. The guidance may finally bring an end to a moratorium that has kept a handful of experiments funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on hold for more than 2 years.

    The policy may be found here.

  • 23 Dec 2016 7:13 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    Hazardous substance information system of the German Social Accident Insurance

    The GESTIS Biological Agents Database contains information for safe activities with biological agents at the workplace, e.g. the required technical, organisational and personal protection measures in the case of specific activities in laboratories, biotechnology and the husbandry of laboratory animals. It also supplies information on important properties of the various biological agents, e.g. their occurrence and pathogenic properties. It contains data on about 15000 biological agents. Information on activities in other sectors where biological agents may possibly occur (so-called "non-specific" activities, e.g. litter service or waste water industry) can be found in non-specific activity data sheets.


  • 21 Oct 2016 2:58 PM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    A new guidance document on the chemical inactivation of organisms in liquids may be found on the following website (only German).

  • 20 Oct 2016 10:35 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    French authorities are organising a brainstorming event focusing on biosafety and biosecurity on November 24th 2017. The event is free of charge and open to all. More information may be obtained via the following link.

  • 19 Oct 2016 10:03 AM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The 32nd International Congress on Occupational Health will take place in Dublin, Ireland, between April 29th and May 4th 2018. More information may be found under the following link:

  • 12 Sep 2016 4:04 PM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    The Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases will holding a symposium on "Understanding Emerging Viral Diseases and and Their Public Health Impact" on November 3rd and 4th. More information may be found here.

  • 31 Aug 2016 5:32 PM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)
    ABSA International created an app for the ABSA Risk Group Database, which is available for Apple and Android devices. The app will allow users to access the ABSA Risk Group Database on their mobile devices. 

    The ABSA Risk Group Database consists of international risk group classifications for Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and Parasites. In many countries, including the United States, infectious agents are categorized in risk groups based on their relative risk. Depending on the country and/or organization, this classification system might take the following factors into consideration: pathogenicity of the organism; mode of transmission and host range; availability of effective preventive measures (e.g., vaccines); availability of effective treatment (e.g., antibiotics); and other factors.

    iPhone and iPad Instructions:

    You can download the Risk Group Database app in the Apple iTunes store by searching for "Risk Group Database app."

    Android Instructions:
    You can download the Risk Group Database app in the Google Play Store by searching for "Risk Group Database."

    The app only works when your device is connected to the internet.

    Please send any comments or suggestions about the app to An update is being planned for early October

    ABSA International would like to express our sincere gratitude to the fellows at the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Program (NBBTP) for updating the ABSA Risk Group Database.

  • 11 Jul 2016 2:13 PM | Daniel Kümin (Administrator)

    In May, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) approved  recommendations for the evaluation and oversight of proposed Gain of Function Research of Concern (GOFROC), following a process involving a risk/benefit and ethical analysis and several public meetings. The recommendations focus on a small subset of Gain of Function (GOF) research proposals, or research generating a pathogen with pandemic potential that entails risks that warrant additional oversight beyond the current oversight. Decisions about whether to fund GOFROC would be based on a set of principles, including merit, a risk/benefit analysis, consideration of alternative methods, history of the investigator and the institution, ability to respond to lab accidents, and whether an organism contains a virulence gene from another organism with which it could not recombine in nature. Oversight of GOFROC would apply to all microorganisms meeting these criteria, not just GOF research with influenza, MERS and SARS virus, which are currently subject to a pause of research funding. The new evaluations would occur pre-funding to determine whether or not a GOFROC study should be undertaken. 

    The NSABB report is available here. The next step is approval by the NIH director, HHS Secretary and other department heads. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will then develop new guidance for funding and oversight of GOF research. OSTP hopes to complete an overarching structure for GOF research and then to lift the year and a half funding pause on certain projects involving influenza, SARS and MERS, which is viewed as discouraging to the field of infectious diseases. The NSABB expressed satisfaction with the recommendations, as an affirmation that GOF research has public benefit and that the new guidance will provide assurance to the public that this research will receive greater scrutiny and oversight, although a regulatory approach and new statutes are not desirable.

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