As demonstrated by the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks, it is essential that public health laboratories have the capacity to work safely with high consequence and emerging pathogens and to provide appropriate guidance to clinical laboratories. 

APHL’s Role in Biosafety and Biosecurity

To address the issues raised by the response to Ebola, the CDC provided funds to state, local and territorial laboratories via the Domestic Ebola Supplement to Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC). This funding aims to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity programs at public health laboratories and to assist public health laboratories to enhance biosafety and biosecurity practices at clinical laboratories.

APHL is:

  1. Serving as subject matter expert to assist public health laboratories with strengthening biosafety and biosecurity capacity. This encompasses developing and providing guidance and tools including biosafety training to public health laboratories, and developing a community of practice for public health biosafety professionals. 
  2. Improving laboratory coordination and outreach to ensure a more robust public health system capable of safely responding to all threats. This encompasses providing tools to assist public health laboratories with outreach to clinical laboratories and direct engagement of key clinical partners. 
  3. Promoting policies to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity. This encompasses educating key policy makers and implementing the position statement, Improving Biosafety in Our Nation’s Laboratories.
  4. Establishing a Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee with representatives from public health laboratories, private clinical laboratories and partner organizations, and other biosafety experts.

See the sidebar for biosafety and biosecurity resources developed or compiled by APHL.​​

​APHL Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee

  • Collaborates with the CDC to evaluate and assist public health laboratories
  • Develops and promotes a culture of safety within public health and clinical laboratories
  • Develops tools and collaborates with APHL to host them within an online repository 
  • Designs and delivers a biosafety and biosecurity training curriculum 
  • Promotes a community of practice to generate collaboration among biosafety officers

For more information, contact Michael Marsico, MS, specialist, Biosafety and Biosecurity at michael.marsico@aphl.org or 240.485.2710.