Wastewater testing is a valuable surveillance tool for public health laboratories. The rapid rise of COVID-19 variants makes it increasingly important for public agencies to be able to diagnose andrespond quickly to areas with increased risk. Inresponse to this unprecedented threat, the NIH CDC Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) has recently been updated to specify the appropriate facilities in which this testing can be conducted.
Environmental Specimen Testing
This guidance for environmental specimens is intended for only those laboratories that perform virus concentration procedures, including wastewater/sewage surveillance testing, and not for public health or clinical diagnostic laboratories that handle COVID-19 clinical specimens or laboratories that perform culture and isolation of SARS-CoV-2. Site- and activity-specific biosafety risk assessments should be performed to determine if additional biosafety precautions are warranted based on situational needs, such as high testing volumes or large volumes, and the likelihood to generate infectious droplets and aerosols. Procedures that concentrate viruses, such as precipitation or membrane filtration, can be performed in a BSL-2 laboratory with unidirectional airflow and BSL-3 precautions, including respiratory protection and a designated area for donning and doffing PPE. The donning and doffing space should not be in the workspace. Work should be performed in a certified Class II BSC. Read More.
Germfree’s BSL-2+ Mobile Biocontainment Laboratory has
been designed to meet or exceed these parameters:
- BSL-2 – The Mobile lab complies with the NIH CDC Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th edition guidelines for BSL-2.
- Unidirectional Airflow – In addition to meeting BSL-2+ requirements, the mobile lab includes a variable Capacity, 11 Ton HVAC system designed to maintain a unidirectional, ISO–7 cleanroom environment (Class 10,000 cleanroom).
- BSL-3 Precautions
- HEPA filtered supply air and HEPA filtered exhaust air
- Directional airflow
- Designated Areas for Donning and doffing PPE – There are two dedicated anterooms onboard for donning and doffing PPE.
- The donning and doffing space should not be in the workspace – They are not.
- Work should be performed in a certified Class II BSC – The Mobile lab is equipped with two (2) Class II, Type A2 Biological Safety Cabinets to protect the product and personnel. One of the Class II Type A2 Biological Safety Cabinets is exhausted to the exterior through a HEPA Filter to capture potentially infectious aerosols.