alexa Optimizing Biosafety and Biocontainment Oversight

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Optimizing Biosafety and Biocontainment Oversight

Effective biosafety and biocontainment practices and oversight of research activities at individual high and maximum containment facilities are critical components of the research enterprise. The Federal Government is committed to the highest quality design and construction of biocontainment facilities, the rigorous training of personnel who work in these laboratories, and the safe conduct of research and research-related activities that occur within these facilities. However, there are areas of concern, which include lapses in biosafety, lack of timely reporting of incidents, and lack of Federal oversight for research involving pathogens that are neither select agents nor recombinant DNA agents. Press reports, articles in scientific publications, Government Accountability Office reports, a report by the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, as well as congressional hearings have focused attention on these issues. At the October 4, 2007, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing entitled “Germs, Viruses, and Secrets: The Silent Proliferation of Bio-Laboratories in the United States,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation of the Trans-Federal Task Force on Optimizing Biosafety and Biocontainment Oversight.

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