The 4th edition of the WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual (Dec.2020), together with the 7 supplemental monographs, has been published.
This fourth edition of the WHO Laboratory biosafety manual (LBM4) adopts a risk- and
evidence-based approach to biosafety rather than a prescriptive approach in order
to ensure that laboratory facilities, safety equipment and work practices are locally
relevant, proportionate and sustainable. Emphasis is placed on the importance of
a “safety culture” that incorporates risk assessment, good microbiological practice
and procedure (GMPP) and SOPs, appropriate introductory, refresher and mentoring
training of personnel, and prompt reporting of incidents and accidents followed
by appropriate investigation and corrective actions. This new approach ai ms to
facilitate laboratory design that ensures greater sustainability while maintaining an
appropriate control of biosafety.
For veterinary laboratories, this risk-based approach complements the recently revised World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standard for managing biological risk in the veterinary laboratory and animal facilities. The fourth edition of the manual provides a risk-based, technology-neutral and cost-effective approach to biosafety, with guidance on the feasibility of laboratory operations even in resource-limited settings. This approach lays a foundation for equitable access to clinical and public health laboratory tests, and encourages biomedical research opportunities, which are increasingly important to combat infectious disease outbreaks, without compromising safety.