National Inventory for Poliovirus Containment
Frequently Asked Questions
- Poliovirus containment is critical to minimizing the risk of the virus getting into the environment and causing harm. Laboratories and other facilities that handle or store PV materials pose a risk for the virus being reintroduced into communities in which PV is eradicated. Proper facility containment of PV is important to keeping the world polio-free.
Containment is achieved by
- destroying unneeded or nonessential PV material and potentially infectious material,
- transferring material to a certified poliovirus-essential facility (PEF), and
- implementing safety and security measures to prevent release of the virus.
Global polio eradication is anticipated within the next few years. Then, certified PEFs biomedical laboratories and facilities working with the virus or handling samples collected at a time the live PV vaccine was in use will be the only possible PV sources.
For more information on containment:
- The U.S. National Authority for Containment (NAC) surveys laboratories and other facilities to understand the scope of infectious poliovirus and potentially infectious materials (e.g., fecal samples, respiratory secretions, environmental samples, such as sewage and wastewater) that are currently in use and/or stored by facilities throughout the United States.
- Yes, national inventories are completing in countries in the Americas, Western Pacific, European, Eastern Mediterranean, African, and Southeast Asia regions. These are happening in response to the 68th World Health Assembly call to WHO Member States (Resolution WHA71.16).
- Polioviruses may be present in biological and environmental materials collected for any purpose at a time and geographic area where wild or vaccine derived poliovirus was circulating or oral polio vaccine was in use. Many facilities may not be aware that such materials may harbor poliovirus.
- The preferred methods for destroying PV infectious or potentially infectious materials are autoclaving and incineration. If another method will be used please contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to destruction of materials. Click here for more information about preferred destruction methods (Appendix D).
- The purpose of the survey is to establish a national registry of facilities working with or storing poliovirus infectious or potentially infectious materials. The survey only asks for the number of samples using broad ranges (e.g., 1-100, 1,000-5,000, 50K+). It is nonetheless important that the individuals completing the survey have a current and comprehensive knowledge of your inventory.
- Yes, since you were identified by the NAC or your Biosafety Officer as someone who may work with or store PV. If you have no biological materials at risk for having poliovirus, the survey will only take a few minutes and no follow up will be necessary.
- Yes, you should take the survey. It addresses infectious poliovirus and materials with the potential to contain the virus. Depending on the time and geographic area in which materials were collected, the possibility that they may contain the virus does exist. The survey questions and reference materials will help you to determine whether your materials could contain the virus.
- Investigators, biosafety officers, or directors should complete or oversee completion of the survey if their laboratory, biobank, or facility tests, extracts, handles, or stores biological samples from humans, experimentally infected animals, sewage, or wastewater. When completing the survey, facilities should coordinate with laboratory staff who work with the material on a regular basis.
- Yes, you should take the survey but limit the scope of your responses (Module E) to your laboratory only. If others in your facility are working with or storing biological or environmental materials, you may work with your biosafety officer or other institutional representative to coordinate a unified response. Please notify the NAC at email@example.com if you choose this option.
- Yes. The current survey launched in December 2018 and is a follow-up to the 2015 survey. It focuses on respiratory samples and biological or environmental samples that have the potential to contain poliovirus. The 2015 survey focused on known infectious material. Your response to the current survey provides the U.S. NAC with an updated and current record. Module F of the survey contains a question about participation in the 2015 survey. Indicate ‘Yes’, where appropriate.
- No. While we are very interested in identifying other laboratories with infectious poliovirus and/or potentially infectious material, the survey link you received is specific to you and should not be shared. If you would like to share the survey with others, you may direct them to the NAC website where they can access the survey or ask them to contact the NAC at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- The decision regarding the scope of your survey response and who it includes is dependent on your role in your facility/institution. You should only submit a department-, campus-, or institution-level survey if you are comfortable with your level of awareness of the inventory at that level.Some facilities may have a biosafety officer or other institutional representative with a broad and comprehensive awareness of the facility’s inventory complete the survey for all labs. Others may ask individual principal investigators to complete the survey independently. Regardless of approach, it is critical that the person completing the survey is aware of the sample/specimen inventory and history of the materials (i.e., date and place of collection).Facilities have the option of providing the NAC with a list of PIs with email addresses. We will use the list to issue individual survey links from our survey software. This method allows you to know who has completed the survey. We can monitor the status of each unique survey invitation.
- The time needed to complete the survey depends on your knowledge of the material inventory at your facility. We recommend reviewing the survey questions and preparing your responses before beginning the online survey to reduce the input time. If your facility does not have any poliovirus materials, the survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. A fully prepared response should take less than 30 minutes to enter on the website.
- Should you need to stop and then resume the survey later, clicking this option will save your answers. The system will generate a unique code that will return you to the saved survey session. You will receive an email with instructions for returning to your survey. Please write down the return code when prompted. You will not receive the actual code in the email. If you lose the return code, email email@example.com.
- We ask for the location (facility information) of the stored materials for two reasons:
- to understand the scope of the survey response (e.g., a single laboratory versus an entire department), and
- to identify laboratories who may be reporting the same materials within a facility.
- If your facility opts to have each principal investigator take the survey, as a Biosafety Officer or other appropriate institution-level representative, you may request a list of surveys received from your facility.
- The information you provide is confidential. We are required to report national-level data to the U.S. National Certification Committee and World Health Organization (WHO); however, that reporting is done in aggregate. If your facility destroys, transfers, or retains materials that are subject to containment and registers as a poliovirus-essential facility (PEF), WHO would be notified of your participation in the program. Survey responses may be provided to an institution’s biosafety officer or other appropriate institution representative upon request.
- The statement of responsibility (SOR) document is submitted on behalf of a facility or institution and signed by an individual with appropriate representative authority. The SOR acknowledges existing facility infectious PV or potentially infectious (PIM) inventory. It is a commitment to handle these materials in accordance with WHO guidance. It is an agreement to notify the NAC if new materials are identified or acquired and to indicate how the facility will maintain PV containment awareness among investigators.The SOR represents the entire institution, including all principal investigators, researchers, staff, and anyone handling material containing or potentially containing PV. More information about the SOR, including a fillable form and guidance, can be requested from the NAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.