The AcCELLerator

Bio Safety Level 2 - Regulation

A few steps of our project, the lentiviral particle production and infection of mammalian cells, were classified as Biosafety level 2. First of all, to perform BSL-2 work we needed to find a laboratory, that is officially registered as BSL-2 lab. Luckily, in the BIOSS Signalhaus, where we did all of our BSL-1 work; a BSL-2 cell culture room were also available.

However, to be able to perform our experiments we had to inform the District Council for genetic engineering control (Regierungspräsidium) about the idea of our project. This included a draft of the work, which will be done as well as a detailed overview of the genes and vectors/plasmids we are going to use. After receiving the approval of the District Council, we have got a specific safety instruction at the workplace including training in handling pathogenic agents.

We have shortly summarized all the important things we have learned from our work in BSL-2 here:

Technical Biosafety Concept in S2 Laboratories

While Biosafety Level 1 is suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in immunocompetent adult humans, BSL-2 is suitable for work involving agents that pose moderate hazards to personnel and the environment.

In principle the S2 cell culture lab looks like a BSL-1 cell culture lab. The main difference is that the access to the laboratory is restricted to only those persons that received a safety instruction for that workplace.

Further safety measurements were:

  • windows were always closed
  • all biological material was collected in containers that were inactivated by autoclaving
  • an autoclave was available in the laboratory
  • the laboratory equipment was routinely decontaminated, as well as, after spills, splashes, or other potential contamination

Special Microbiological Practices

  • we always had to wear gloves and a lab coat, that was kept separate from our lab coats in BSL-1
  • we used only disposable plastic
  • after completion of work and after any spill or splashes of potentially infectious material we decontaminated the work surface with appropriate disinfectant
  • before leaving the laboratory it was mandatory to take off the lab coats and gloves, and we disinfect and washed our hands