The ability to respond to public health emergencies involving infectious diseases as well as our ability to adequately prepare for as yet unknown or unrecognized emerging infectious diseases requires suitable facilities within which scientific investigations can take place. To ensure the safe conduct of such investigations so that laboratory workers and the general public are protected from potential consequences of accidental or intentional release of high consequence pathogens, special containment facilities have been designed and constructed. Evaluation of the adequacy of containment for these types of investigations requires a risk assessment (RA) as part of the overall construction project for these types of laboratories. A discussion of the RA process along with considerations that impact the design of such studies and the overall results is presented.
NIH/NIAID's perspectives about biocontainment laboratory risk assessment are discussed.