Work involving Biological Factors
Specific information on use and classification of biological factors in Norway can be found in the: Regulations on protection from exposure to biological agents in the workplace: FOR-1997-12-19-1322. (lovdata.no > ressurser > forskrifter > FOR-1997-12-19-1322)
The Sars Centre's research involves use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
and Microorganisms (GMM) classified as Risk Category II. This means that the use of lab coats is compulsory in our labs.
Definition of biological factors
Biological factors are classified into four groups according to the health risks/threats that they can cause to humans. These definitions include both natural and genetically modified factors.
Biological factors comprise:
- living or dead microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoans.
- cell cultures
- endoparasites and prions that can cause infections, allergies or can be poisonous to humans.
Biological factors currently being used at the Sars Centre are microorganisms (variously modified E. coli strains) and cell cultures, and these are classified as Group 1 or Group 2 factors (Risk Category II).
Handling of biological factors
- Personal protective equipment to be used: lab coat, gloves, goggles, respiratory mask
- If experimental procedures can generate aerosols or splashing, use protective goggles and mask; alternatively, work in a safety hood
- Sharp objects must be immediately disposed, after use, into a puncture proof container.
- Work surfaces should be decontaminated with 70% ethanol before and after work.
- Spills should be cleaned-up immediately with 70% ethanol.
- Wash your hands after handling viable materials, after removing gloves, and before leaving the laboratory.
- All work involving cell culture must be done in the cell culture lab (229 A1).
- See Annex 6 and the cell culture facility handbook for information and requirements on working with cell cultures at the Sars Centre.
- Genetically modified microorganisms MUST NOT be released into the environment.
- Refer to Biological Waste for guidelines on the disposal of GMMs.
- The viruses currently used at the Sars Centre are not considered pathogenic because while able to potentially infect human cells, they cannot proliferate.
- All work with retroviruses must be done in the cell culture lab (229 A1).
- See Annex 6, and the cell culture facility handbook for guidelines on the handling and disposal of retroviruses.
- Genetically modified organisms MUST NOT be released into the environment!
- Norway’s Animal Welfare Act defines research animals as being: mammals, birds, insects, amphibians, fish, decapods, octopi and honey bees. Experiments involving these organisms are regulated by law and must be documented, approved, and only carried out by FELASA certified individuals. See the University of Bergen Laboratory Animal Facility web pages for further information (uib.no > dyreavdelingen/en).
- If you aim to start producing genetically modified (transgenic) animals, you must have a plan for dealing with the waste BEFORE beginning any experiments. Refer to Biological Waste for guidelines on the disposal of GMOs.
- Currently at the Sars Centre, GMOs are cultured in:
- Rm 138 C1 Cnidaria facility – Nematostella vectensis
- Rm 141 A1 Zebrafish facility – Danio rerio