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Biosafety Guidelines

Lentivirus vector in our lentiviral vector collection is the safest lentiviral vectors available in the commercially available market. However, it is imperative to understand the potential hazards of, and necessary precautions for, the laboratory use of lentiviruses. The National Institute of Health and Center for Disease Control have designated recombinant lentiviruses as Level 2 organisms. This requires the maintenance of a Biosafety Level 2 facility for work involving this virus. The VSV-G pseudotyped lentiviruses packaged from the HIV-1-based vectors described here are capable of infecting human cells. The viral supernatants produced by these lentiviral systems could, depending on your insert, contain potentially hazardous recombinant virus. Similar vectors have been approved for human gene therapy trials, attesting to their potential ability to express genes in vivo.

For more information on Biosafety Level 2 agents and practices, download the following reference: Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), Fifth Edition (February 2007) HHS Pub. No. (CDC) 93-8395. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIH. Available on the web at http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/biosfty/bmbl5/bmbl5toc.htm.

The following information is a brief description of Biosafety Level 2. It is neither detailed nor complete. Details of the practices, safety equipment, and facilities that combine to produce a Biosafety Level 2 are available in the above publication. If possible, observe and learn the practices described below from someone who has experience working with lentiviruses.

Summary of Biosafety Level 2

Practices

  • Standard microbiological practices
  • Limited access to work area
  • Biohazard warning signs posted
  • Minimize production of aerosols
  • Decontaminate potentially infectious wastes before disposal
  • Use precautions with sharps (e.g., syringes, blades)
  • Biosafety manual defining any needed waste decontamination or medical surveillance policies.

Safety equipment

  • Biological Safety Cabinet, preferably a Class II BSC/laminar flow hood (with a HEPA microfilter) used for all manipulations of agents that cause splashes or aerosols of infectious materials: exhaust air is not re-circulated.
  • PPE: protective laboratory coats, gloves, face protection as needed.

Facilities

  • Autoclave available for waste decontamination
  • Chemical disinfectants available for spills.