This year's SARS cases, believed to be originated in research labs in China and Singapore, have highlighted the question of biological safety in labs. A standard and scientific safety criteria and evaluation system is badly needed to bring all labs under control. An official Wang Fengqing explains some major points of the new criteria.
"This criteria has referred to related international standards, and has combined guidance documents on bio-safety in labs from the World Health Organization and relevant countries, with China's practical experience and industrial regulations. It will be an advanced and practical rule in lab operation."
The new criteria regulate the management of biological safety and the structural requirements of labs, as well as the classification of bio-safety, equipment settings and individual practices in labs. The criteria classify lab safety into 4 ranks, and sets different building and evaluation standards for each rank.
Director of the Standardization Administration of China Li Zhonghai said as long as the criteria are followed fully and strictly, the possibility of mishaps is tiny.
"An enforceable standard should be fully carried out according to its scientific procedure. Only those who have reached the standard can be approved."
The evaluation of all biological labs will soon begin, and those that have already got accreditations will be re-evaluated.
The latest SARS cases in China caused by the virus escaping from a lab have exposed the safety problem in some labs dealing with highly-pathogenic products.
(CRI.com May 29, 2004)