PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSE
CDC Convenes Town Hall Meeting on Laboratory and Instrument Biosafety
By Michael Marsico , MS , manager , Biosafety and Biosecurity
• Independent Assessment of Risks and Instrument Design
• Panel Discussion on Potential Areas for Improvement
APHL Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee members Dr . Michael Pentella and Dr . Peter Iwen discussed their reallife experiences in laboratory testing of specimens from patients with Ebola virus disease and the perceived risks to laboratory personnel and impact on testing . Topics from the panel discussion around laboratory instrument improvement included :
The town hall provided a forum for public health partners to discuss biosafety concerns around laboratory instrumentation .
During the Ebola incidents in 2014 , the laboratory community noted several concerns specifically around instrument safety that led to delays or lack of testing . Laboratory staff were concerned about their own safety regarding the perceived risks associated with Ebola virus testing . This and other gaps in biosafety was documented in Clinical Laboratory Biosafety
Gaps : Lessons Learned from Poast Outbreaks Reveal a Path to a Safer Future
. This town hall was designed to work collaboratively across instrument manufacturers and public health and clinical laboratory partners to foster an understanding around the biosafety issues associated with laboratory instrumentation revealed during the Ebola outbreak , relate to both the COVID-19
pandemic and the current monkeypox outbreak , and develop practical solutions to address these issues to improve public health pandemic preparedness .
Major topics discussed during the town hall included :
• Medical Device Design-Incorporating Safety and Biosafety
• Perceived Risks to Laboratory Personnel and Impact on Testing
• Increased communication with manufacturers to address issues around equipment instructions and manuals and suggestions to include more safety guidance in manufacturer instructions .
• Including clinical laboratory representatives during initial discussions around laboratory instrumentation with manufacturers to focus on potential safety concerns .
• Funding towards applied biosafety research .
The town hall provided a forum for public health partners to discuss biosafety concerns around laboratory instrumentation . Attendees were able to hear speakers present their topics and hear them discuss potential improvements around equipment safety with the goal to improve public health responses towards future emerging infectious disease threats . Continuing these conversations with clinical and public health partners to improve laboratory safety specifically around the use of laboratory instrumentation and testing is essential . g