COVID-19 Research Biosafety
Required Biosafety Levels
The following are general biosafety level requirements which are subject to change as we learn more about SARS-CoV-2. Follow all EH&S and IBC requirements as communicated in your BUA Letter. Additional site-specific requirements may be required for certain facilities or shared laboratory spaces.
Summary of Required Biosafety Levels
|Sample or Specimen Type
|Nucleic acids and fixed/inactivated SARS-CoV-2 samples or tissue
|Clinical specimens from COVID-19 patients
||BSL-2 with enhancements
|SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in vivo experiments
Biosafety Practices for Research with SARS-CoV-2
Occupational Health Requirements
Medical counseling is required before starting work with any SARS-CoV-2 samples or tissues, including fixed or inactivated samples or tissues. Researchers in the BSL-3 program working with SARS-CoV-2 are required to adhere to the requirements in the medical management plan and complete their specific daily symptom attestation.
The Principal Investigator or supervisor is required to review any occupational health recommendations or medical management plans with staff and must ensure that their staff contact the Employee Health Center for medical counseling prior to work. Occupational health information and medical management plans will be provided upon research approval.
In the event of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2, follow the steps on the Exposure Response Poster. Report all exposures and near misses via the Online Accident Reporting System (OARS). For researchers in the BSL-3 program, follow any additional program procedures for exposures and symptom development.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If your lab work includes handling hazardous materials (or is in an area where hazardous materials are being used) and you want to wear a mask for COVID-19 prevention, wear a disposable medical/procedure mask along with other appropriate PPE.
If you wear a mask for work with biohazards, whether required or by choice, a disposable medical/procedure mask is required at BSL-2 and higher. Do not wear cloth masks during BSL-2 and higher work. Dispose of the mask following work, as it could have become contaminated. You can replace your disposable mask with a clean face covering of your choice if you want to wear a mask outside the lab. Read this article on the EH&S website for more information.