Biosafety cabinets (BSCs) are a type of biocontainment equipment that is used in biological laboratories to protect personnel, the environment, and the product. To avoid biohazard exposure, most BSCs (e.g., Class II and Class III) employ high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in both the exhaust and supply systems.
There are various designs of biosafety cabinets that offer varying levels of protection to both the worker and the research material. In the United States, there are three classes of biosafety cabinet Malaysia: Class I, Class II, and Class III. Class I biosafety cabinets are rarely used and provide personnel and environmental protection but no product protection. Class II and Class III cabinets protect personnel, the environment, and the product. Class II biosafety cabinets are widely used in biological research laboratories and are classified as A1, A2, B1, or B2. The majority of biosafety cabinets used in the United States are classified as Class II Type A2. The naming system described here is the one used in the United States, as well as in the CDC/NIH guidelines Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories Appendix A. Other naming conventions have been used in the past or in other countries.
Biosafety cabinets are not laminar flow hoods (e.g., “clean benches”). Laminar flow hoods protect the work product by providing a clean or sterile environment, but they discharge air towards the worker. The use of laminar flow hoods when working with infectious agents, toxins, or cultures may expose the worker to the biological material. Similarly, chemical fume hoods cannot replace biosafety cabinets. Chemical fume hoods are used to protect workers from chemical exposure, but they are not suitable for work with infectious agents or toxins. Biosafety cabinets must be inspected on a regular basis by trained personnel and “certified” as safe for work involving infectious agents or toxins.
A biological safety cabinet (BSC) is the most important biocontainment equipment used in diagnostic, microbiology, virology, research, and biosafety laboratories to protect the product, the individual, and the environment. Specimen separation, aliquoting, vortex mixing, centrifugation, pipetting, and opening pressurized containers all produce potentially infectious aerosols and microparticles. Because BSCs serve as the primary barrier and provide a safe working environment for workers exposed to high-risk pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, certification of BSCs is critical to their proper operation. Certification of BSCs by an accredited agency based on systematic assessments and documentation would ensure that the equipment meets the specified requirements according to standard guidelines.
Adherence to appropriate biosafety practices in diagnostic and research laboratories is critical in the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biosafety is defined as the use of containment principles, technologies, and practices to prevent unintentional exposure to biological agents or their unintentional release [World Health Organization (WHO), 2020d]. Four controls can ensure appropriate biosafety in a laboratory. Administrative controls include laboratory management, training, and vaccination of testing personnel; engineering controls include the use of safety equipment such as BSCs as primary containment, as well as the facility’s construction and design; and personal protective equipment (PPE) and adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs).…