Enhancing laboratory biosafety in South East Asia – World Health Organization

WHO’s Regional Office for South East Asia (SEARO) is supporting countries to boost laboratory biosafety and biosecurity through regular training.
Biological safety, also known as biosafety, uses a structured approach to minimize infectious, chemical, and physical risks in clinical and laboratory settings. Laboratory biosafety has always been important but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it a primary concern as countries grapple with widespread circulation of SARS-CoV-2 combined with a lack of biosafety practices,  protocols and equipment. For example, a lack of viral transport media without inhibitors of the growth of SARS-CoV-2 have impacted testing specimens for influenza.  
 In this context, the 4th edition of the WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual (LBM4), which promotes a risk-based and cost-effective approach to biosafety, offers an economically feasible and sustainable option for scaling up biosafety practices in countries. To help implement the LBM4 approach, SEARO developed a practical guide and a series of bio-risk assessment templates. The new guide contains straightforward descriptions of recommended biosafety practices alongside stepwise illustrations of for example how to perform routine biosafety activities and how best to respond to a laboratory emergency.
 In addition, SEARO organized two regional trainings to support biosafety:
 These activities have been partly supported by the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework Partnership Contribution
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