- News Home
27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang'e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China's quest to send a...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
- About Us
China Tightens Biosafety Rules
30 November 2004 (All day)
BEIJING--Spurred in part by laboratory mishaps that led to an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), China has enacted its first national laboratory biosafety regulations. The virus, accidentally spread by researchers, killed one person and sickened nine last April.
The new regulations, which went into effect 27 November, are based largely on the Laboratory Biosafety Manual of the World Health Organization (WHO) and define four levels of labs, corresponding to the biosafety levels 1 through 4 of the WHO manual. Also as in the WHO manual, the Chinese regulations specify pathogens, including the viruses that cause SARS and avian influenza, that can be handled only in level- 3 and -4 labs. China's new guidelines go further than WHO's in recommending that lab managers failing to follow the regulations be subject to criminal investigations.
Work on the regulations began last year but was accelerated after sloppy lab practices at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Beijing led to infections of two researchers who passed the disease on to several contacts (ScienceNOW, 27 April), says Song Ruilin, an official with the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office. Previously, lab safety was the responsibility of individual ministries, practices were not standardized, and there was lax enforcement.
Julie Hall, WHO coordinator for communicable disease surveillance and response in Beijing, calls the new regulations "a very positive move in the right direction." She says it is particularly significant that the regulations tackle lab biosafety management, "which was one of the failings" identified in the aftermath of the SARS virus leaks.
Researchers generally applaud the government's attention to boosting lab safety. But one scientist, who did not want to be identified, calls the new regulations "unrealistically strict." Hall says such complaints are not uncommon and may be part of the process of finding a balance between restricting access to dangerous bugs and promoting needed research.
WHO's biosafety manual