CDC Announces Formation of an External Laboratory Safety Workgroup


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces the formation of an external laboratory safety workgroup of the Advisory Committee to the Director of CDC. This group will provide advice and guidance to the CDC director and CDC’s new director of laboratory safety.

The specific charge and functions of the workgroup include, but are not limited to:
• Reviewing and providing input into corrective actions for CDC’s laboratories. These include actions identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services and CDC’s Office of the Associate Director for Science following investigations conducted in response to the June 2014 transfer of potentially viable Bacillus anthracis from a CDC BSL-3 facility to CDC BSL-2 facilities; actions identified in follow up to an inadvertent shipment of an H5N1 influenza-containing laboratory specimen to an external BSL-3 laboratory; and other necessary actions identified through ongoing procedural reviews.
• Prioritizing implementation of additional safeguards across all CDC laboratories.
• Identifying potential weaknesses and necessary safeguards based on experiences of non-CDC (e.g., private and/or academic) laboratories.
• Identifying training and oversight needs to promote and sustain a culture of laboratory safety at CDC.
• Identifying ways to provide stronger safeguards for laboratories across the United States.
• Examining HHS lab protocols and reporting to the Secretary through the ACD on: Whether current biosafety and biosecurity rules, processes, and procedures are appropriate; whether implementation or execution of the current protocols is adequate, recommendations for improving these protocols or their implementation.

The group is set to meet for the first time in early August and will meet as frequently as needed.

Members are as follows: 

Kenneth Berns, MD, PhD * Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville

Debra Hunt, DrPH, CBSP Assistant Professor; Director, Biological Safety, Occupational and Environmental Safety Office, Duke University / Duke University Health System

Thomas Inglesby, MD  Chief Executive Officer and Director, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Health Security

Joseph Kanabrocki, PhD, CBSP ** Associate Vice President for Research Safety and Professor of Microbiology, University of Chicago

Patricia Olinger, RBP Director, Environmental Health and Safety Office, Emory University

Michael Pentella, PhD Director, Bureau of Laboratory Sciences, Hinton State Laboratory Institute, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

David Relman, MD Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, Stanford University; Chief of Infectious Diseases, VA Palo Alto; Co-Director, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC); and Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Heather Sheeley, BA (Hons), MSc., CBiol MSB., CMIOSH, FISTR Corporate BioSafety Programme Lead, Public Health England

Fred Sparling, MD Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, Director, Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Jill Taylor, PhD Director, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health

Domenica Zimmerman Biosafety Officer, Director of the Environmental Health and Biosafety Regulations and Requirements Core in the Environmental Health and Safety, Biological and Chemical Safety Program, University of Texas Medical Branch


Source: CDC

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