In many countries, including the United States, biological agents are categorized in Risk Groups (RG) based on their relative risk. Depending on the country or organization, this classification system might take the following factors into consideration:
It is important to understand that biological agents are classified in a graded fashion such that the level of hazard associated with RG1 being the lowest and RG4 being the highest. EHS Biosafety follows the NIH Guidelines categorization of Risk Groups as follows:
Microorganisms and their associate RG designation commonly used at UVA can be found at the ABSA website.
In contrast to Risk Groups, Biosafety Levels (BSL) prescribe procedures and levels of containment for the particular microorganism or material (including Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules). Similar to Risk Groups, BSL are graded from 1 – 4. Detailed descriptions of containment practices and biosafety levels can be found in the CDC-NIH Guidelines Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.
The majority of work at UVA involves Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) practices. BSL-2 containment and practice is suitable for work with agents that are infectious to humans or animals where exposure may result in limited to moderate disease. The routes of exposure to these agents are typically through cuts and breaks in the skin, ingestion, and splashes to the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth). These agents or materials include:
Contact Paul Skoglund at firstname.lastname@example.org or 243-0726 for more information.
NOTE about Human Derived Materials (#2 above): Human or clinical materials needing IRB approval must be sought before IBC approval.
Before beginning work at BSL-1 researchers must…
Before beginning work at BSL-2 researchers must…
For assistance, refer to the Checklist for New BSL-2 Personnel.
*Medical clearance is only necessary for work with agents that the IBC deems "high risk". The list can be found by contacting EHS Biosafety.
All personnel must receive training on Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) laboratory practices prior to working in a BSL-2 laboratory. Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for adhering to the following:
Note: Completing the above steps does not entitle personnel to work with BSL-2 agents. It is the PI or supervisor’s responsibility to assess an individual’s readiness to work with BSL-2 agents, and also to directly demonstrate and train new personnel in the specific techniques and practices that are used in their lab.
Work with agents or materials at Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) requires additional registration and approvals set forth by federal regulations, CDC/NIH guidelines, and University policy. Medical Surveillance and additional training is required. Please contact EHS Biosafety for more information. Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) experiments are not permitted at the University of Virginia.
Due to the overlap of Select Agent Regulations and many BSL-3 (Risk Group 3 agents) activities, you must contact EHS Biosafety before acquiring and/or working with agents at BSL-3.
Before initial BSL-3 work, seek IBC approval prior to:
For ongoing BSL-3 work seek IBC approval: