CDC Town Hall Meeting on Laboratory Biosafety – Use of Laboratory Instruments, June 24, 2022

CDC’s Division of Laboratory Systems will host a town hall in collaboration with clinical and public health laboratory partners and instrument manufacturers. The purpose of this meeting is to provide an overview and discussion on laboratory biosafety when using laboratory instruments to test human and biologic specimens. The publication Clinical Laboratory Biosafety Gaps: Lessons Learned from Past Outbreaks Reveal a Path to a Safer Future discussed critical gaps in clinical laboratory biosafety, including issues related to the use and disinfection of laboratory instruments.

Clinical specimens might contain infectious agents that could cause disease in laboratory professionals if exposure takes place during testing, including during the use of laboratory instruments. During the Ebola outbreak of 2014, real and perceived concerns about instrument safety emerged and led laboratories to delay their testing – or refuse to test altogether – due to concerns about exposure to the Ebola virus. These concerns resulted in patient safety issues due to a delay in or lack of testing availability. When testing could be made available, it often resulted in additional biosafety measures, including additional personal protective equipment (PPE), instrument shields, workflow alterations, and adoption of dedicated point-of-care instrumentation. This town hall collaboration is designed to foster mutual understanding of the multiple perspectives on biosafety issues with laboratory instrumentation revealed during the Ebola outbreak. The goal is to co-develop practical solutions to address issues or gaps and improve pandemic preparedness.

Meeting Information

The CDC Town Hall Meeting on Laboratory Biosafety was held on June 24, 2022. The agenda included presentations and discussions on four topic areas:

  • Medical device design and incorporation of safety and biosafety
  • Perceived risks to laboratory personnel and impact on testing
  • Independent assessment of risks and instrument design
  • A discussion of potential areas for improvement

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Page last reviewed: June 24, 2022