2. Defining ways of avoiding or minimising the risk. For animal cell culture the level of risk is dependent upon the cell line to be used and is based on whether the cell line is likely to cause harm to humans. The different classifications are given below: Low risk – Non human/non primate continuous cell lines and some well characterised human continuous lines. Medium risk – Poorly characterised mammalian cell lines. High risk – Primary cells derived from human/primate tissue or blood. – Cell lines with endogenous pathogens (the precise categorisation is dependent upon the pathogen) – refer to ACDP guidelines, for details†. – Cell lines used following experimental infection where the categorisation is dependent upon the infecting agent – refer to ACDP guidelines, for details. †Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) (1995) Categorisation of Biological Agents According to Hazard and Categories of Containment, 4th edition, HSE books, Sudbury, UK. The fifth update to the 1995 document was produced in 2013. An update to the Approved List of Biological agents was issued in 2013, available at: . Note: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) publishes a similar list, in its Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) document (2009), available at: . The U.S. system uses Biological Safety Levels in place of the UK ACDP hazard groups. A culture collection such as ECACC will recommend a minimum containment level required for a given cell line based upon its risk assessment. For most cell lines the appropriate level of containment is Level 2 requiring a class 2 microbiological safety cabinet. However, this may need to be increased to containment Level 3 depending upon the type of manipulations to be carried out and whether large culture volumes are envisaged. For cell lines
9 sigma-aldrich.com derived from patients with HIV or Human T-Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) Level 3 containment is required. Containment is the most obvious means of reducing risk. Other less obvious measures include restricting the movement of staff and equipment into and out of laboratories. Good laboratory practice and good bench techniques such as ensuring work areas are uncluttered, reagents are correctly labelled and stored, are also important for reducing risk and making the laboratory a safe environment in which to work. The risk of exposure to aerosols or splashes can be limited by avoiding rapid pipetting, scraping and pouring. In addition, it is recommended that people working in laboratories where primary human material is used are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Staff training and the use of written standard operating procedures and risk assessments will also reduce the potential for harm. Cell culture training courses covering the basics of tissue culture safety are offered by ECACC.
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