Biosafety Issues

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Introduction on Biosafety

The procedures, policies and the principles which are adopted for the safeguard of the environment and the humans are called biosafety. It can also be said to be containment principles, strategies, and practices that are used or practiced to prevent exposure to pathogens and toxins. Main objective behind these biosafety measures is to keep a check on harmful biological agents, chemicals, radiation, etc. These biosafety measures have earned so much importance it’s good of public and environmental safety. 

Rules and Monitoring Body for Biosafety

The people should be made aware of the rules, regulations, and monitoring bodies. As researchers, the one who has all knowledge about biosafety issues and measures which should be taken care to perform all these activities. An agreement was adopted by 167 countries including many countries of the United Nations on biosafety issues named “The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety” and its enforcement was done in the year 2003. 

Main amin of this protocol is given below:

1. One of its aims is to ensure the safe movement of the living modified organisms across the boundaries.

2. It also functions by framing and sharing the principles and methods for risk assessment by taking biosafety measures i.e. by clearing houses. 

Authorities which Regulate Biosafety Measures

There are so many authorities which regulate biosafety measures, some of them are listed below

A. The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI): 

Main aim of this regulatory body is to regulate the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as per the rules of the Bill introduced in the Parliament in 2013.

B. BRAI: 

This authority had signed the Cartagena Protocol and by this protocol regulating body was set up. 

Advantages of Biosafety Issues

Some of the advantageous of biosafety issues are listed below:

A. Eliminating Risk: 

It prevents organisms from direct exposure to any kinds of pathogens, harmful rays. Etc. 

B. Use of a high Efficiency Particulate Filter: 

Here we use HEPA to prevent organisms or human beings from coming in direct contact with these harmful particulates. As these filters can also trap various varius, bacteria and other microorganisms too. 

C. Inbuilt Ventilation System: 

It stops entry of harmful gases, which can destroy your lungs if you breathed in. 

D. Giving a Sterile Environment. 

E. Using Rubber Gloves.

Different Levels of Biosafety

Biosafety is categorized into different levels on the basis of biocontainment precautions made to protect laboratory personnel as well as the surrounding environment and the community. These levels are being set up on the basis of organisms which are used in the laboratory. 

Biosafety Level 1:

It is considered to be the lowest biosafety level and applied on those organisms which are least treated to the laboratory workers along with the surrounding or environment. In this level, they are not segregated from general building. Organisms which come under biosafety level 1 are: E.coli. Facilities which are followed are biosafety level 1 are: 

A. mechanical pipetting

B. safe handling of sharps

C. avoiding splashes or aerosols

D. washing hands properly 

E. prohibition on drinking, smoking and food in the laboratories

F. signs of biohazards

G. Use of protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, lab coats, gowns

H. By removing all the infectious materials.

Biosafety Level 2:

These agents are responsible for causing human disease, like: encephalitis virus, HIV, Staphylococcus aureus. One who works in such labs has to be very attentive and careful to prevent themselves from any injuries such as cuts, ingestions, etc.

Precautions which are taken care in level 2 are: 

A. All should use protective equipment like goggles, glasses, face shields, etc.

B. The process which can cause infections should be carried out in proper care.

C. Before disposing waste material should be decontaminated. 

D. Eyewash should be there along with the basin. u

Biosafety Level 3:

In this we do experiments on those pathogens which cause life threatening diseases like: West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, bacteria causing tuberculosis, etc.

Precautions which should be taken in this biosafety levels are:

A. Equipment like respirators should be used.

B. All activities should be performed under biosafety cabinets. 

C. Each door should have access away from the general building.

Biosafety Level 4: 

In this biosafety level, humans work under high risk zones i.e. in contact with exotic microbes. If one gets infected with these microbes, it can take their life too. So proper precaution is must in level 4. 

Some of the biosafety measures, which should be followed are: 

A. Changing of clothes and should take shower lab work.

B. All used material should be properly decontaminated. 

C. Such experiments should be carried out under class 3 safety cabinets. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain the Importance of Biosafety measures?

Ans. Practice which is based on containment principles, technologies, to prevent anyone from unintentional direct exposure from harmful pathogens, toxins, other accidental release, etc. Because of this reason biosafety plays a very crucial role as it decreases the chances of having any life threatening disease caused by biological agents.

2. Write a few Steps which are taken to Improve Biosafety Measures?

Ans. Some of steps taken to improve biosafety measures are discussed below:

  • There should be proper approval for those areas where genetic engineering processes occur. 

  • It is necessary to follow biosafety guidelines. 

  • Biosafety seminars are runned to spread awareness of biosafety measures among the researchers, producers of Genetically Modified Organisms, policymakers, administrators and environmentalists.

  • Different biosafety levels have been proposed for the laboratories depending on pathogens being used while doing experiments.