Risk Group Classification

According to the Laboratory Bio Safety Manual published by WHO, our laboratory work using infectious microorganisms is classified as Risk Group 1, meaning no or low individual and community risk. Correspondingly, our laboratory is equipped with all the required installations to ensure biosafety in the laboratory.

General Lab Safety

Every team member must undergo a series of lab safety training for around 1 week’s time in order to attain the permission to work in the laboratory. Information on the location of eye-wash stations, emergency showers, emergency contact person, escape routes and meeting points are all delivered during the training session. The procedures of using lab facilities are all demonstrated by our laboratory instructors, who are all qualified personnels from the laboratory. The proper procedure of handling hazardous or toxic chemical and biological reagents is particularly emphasised. In addition, there will be supervision by personnels from the institute when hazardous substance is to be handled, until the supervisor is convinced of our independence and experience with using these substances.

Lab Condition and Environment

Our laboratory is newly equipped. All consumables are replenished at a fixed interval. The entire laboratory includes several individual chambers specialised for the preparation of bacteriophage, cultivation of cells, etc., with additional independent entrance guard systems. No entry is allowed to these rooms without permission and prior training. Each team has individual benches. Certain consumables (e.g. gloves, tubes, kits, etc.) are posited in the cabinets in the storage area. There are 4℃ , -20℃ and -80℃ refrigerators available to deposit some of the reagents.

All workbench is required to be cleaned (with disinfectant) and equipments sorted after use.

Personal Protection

Here are some basic rules we must follow in the lab[1]:

  • Laboratory coveralls, gowns or uniforms must be worn at all times during work in the laboratory.
  • Appropriate gloves must be worn for all procedures
  • It is prohibited to wear protective laboratory clothing outside the laboratory
  • Open-toed footwear is prohibited in the laboratory. 

  • Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics, and handling contact lenses is 
prohibited in the laboratory working areas. 

  • Storing human foods or drinks anywhere in the laboratory working areas is 

Utilisation of specialised equipments

Due to the requirement of our project, we need to use some of the specialised equipments in the lab. For example, when separating OMVs from the sample, super-centrifuge is used for its high rotational speed as required by protocol. Because of the tremendous hazard that may result if not used properly, supervision is required. Further more, each piece of equipment in the laboratory are labeled with the name, contact number of the person in charge of it, and precautions. Thus team members would contact the personnel responsible for the machine before a permission is granted to us.

Disposal of waste in the lab

Here are some basic rules we must follow in the lab[1]:

  • Proper disposal of experimental waste is vital to maintaining lab safety. In our lab, we generally divide the wastage in to several groups, each group disposed in a certain container to be carried away.[2]
  • Contaminated (potentially infectious) materials for disposal such as discarded specimens and cultures are to be placed in leakproof laboratory discard bags posited at each bench in a bright-yellow bin on the ground, with tops secured prior to disposal into waste bins. 

  • Contaminated (infectious) “sharps” — hypodermic needles, scalpels, knives and broken glass — should be disposed in puncture-proof containers fitted with covers on each bench with a bright yellow and red color and the label of ‘sharp container’ on them. Also, when these containers are 75% full, they are to be emptied and no further wastage should go into these containers.
  • Contaminated material for decontamination by autoclaving, washing, reuse, or recycling (e.g. jars for reagents, measuring cylinders, flasks and beads); for materials to be autoclaved, we have specified baskets to place them. All of them will then be collected by certain personnels and decontaminated with autoclaves.