Biosafety Manual for Medical Laboratories

The Biosafety Manual was developed to guide the all medical laboratories in the state and private sector in their development of biosafety policies and programmes. The manual provides guidance on the use of safe and secure workplace practices, appropriate protective equipment and engineering and administrative controls in the handling of pathogenic microorganisms in the laboratories and during transportation.

The manual is developed for all the categories of medical laboratory workers aiming to protect workers, the environment and the community from exposure, infection and subsequent development of disease. Further this provides guidance to the workers on the principles, objectives and practices of laboratory biosafety, biosecurity and the required infrastructure.

The first publication of the Biosafety Manual had been done by the Consultant Microbiologists and staff at Medical Research Institute in 2004 with collaboration of Ministry of Health. The Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists felt the need to revise the manual with regards to the current development in laboratory safety.

Editorial board for the revision of the manual comprised of Dr. Pranitha Somaratne (Consultant Microbiologist, Lanka Hospitals PLC, Colombo), Dr. Enoka Corea (Consultant Microbiologist, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo), Dr. Geethani Galagoda (Consultant Virologist, MRI), Dr. Lilani Karunanarathne (Consultant Microbiologist, MRI), Dr. Sujatha Pathirage (Consultant Microbiologist, MRI) and Dr. Jananie Kottahachchi (Consultant Microbiologist, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura).

Several meetings were conducted initially with the whole membership to decide on the content, correction and suggestions for the new edition. Over 40 members of Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists have contributed as technical working group, contributors as well as subject matter experts. Members from other colleges and other professional groups also have contributed in revising relevant chapters. Cover page for the manual was designed by Dr. Roshan Jayasooriya (Consultant Microbiologist, NIHS).

The Ministry of Health kindly agreed to fund the project. The revised manual was launched on 31.10.2014, at the annual general meeting of Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists.

Each government hospital where the service of a consultant microbiologist is available was handed over a copy of the manual. The manual is available to be purchased for Rs. 1000.00 for member and Rs. 2500.00 for nonmembers at the college office of Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists.

We hope the second edition of “Biosafety Manual for Medical Laboratories” will guide laboratory workers for safe laboratory practice.

By  Dr Janani  Kottahachchi