Biosafety and Biosecurity Challenges Facing Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories in Lower-Middle Income Countries in Southeast Asia: A Case Study of Thailand
Siengsanan-Lamont J., Kamolsiripichaiporn S., Ruanchaimun S., Patchimasiri T., Jongrakwattana B., Blacksell SD.
<jats:sec><jats:title>Introduction:</jats:title><jats:p> Global concerns over emerging and transboundary infectious zoonotic diseases have increased disease diagnostic demands, especially in the veterinary sector. In developing or newly developed countries where the sector often works under limited capacity, biosafety and biosecurity are unlikely to be high-priority issues. A recent development program supported by the Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency funded by the US government aimed to increase biosafety and biosecurity measures of government veterinary diagnostic and research laboratories in Thailand. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Objective:</jats:title><jats:p> The purpose of this article is to identify biosafety and biosecurity challenges, opportunities, and recommendations. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods:</jats:title><jats:p> Eleven government laboratory centers were assessed against the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories ( BMBL) biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) requirements checklist. The BMBL assessment outcomes were then combined with the outcomes of discussion sessions, and the results of pre- and post-test questionnaires conducted during biosafety assessment workshops and self-evaluation reports using the Food and Agriculture Organization Biosafety Laboratory Mapping Tool of each laboratory center were reviewed and summarized. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results:</jats:title><jats:p> Despite established national policies on laboratory biosafety and biosecurity, major challenges included (1) harmonization and enforcement of these policies, especially at the regional level, and (2) engagement of personnel in implementations of biosafety and biosecurity measures. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusion:</jats:title><jats:p> Consistent biosafety policy and allocated resources together with regular training are required to develop sustainable biosafety and biosecurity at the national level. Collaboration between regional countries, international organizations, and donors is essential for improving biosafety and biosecurity on a global scale through setting regional priorities, enacting regulatory standards, and providing technical and financial support. </jats:p></jats:sec>