GET JOURNAL OF BIOSECURITY AND ONE HEALTH

Volume 1, No. 2, 2022

Pages 7-19

Building a Culture of Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Responsible Conduct in the Life Sciences: A View from Mali

Dao K1; Tarangelo JP2; Epting M3; Keita A1; Mariko K1 ;Danskin K3; Iknane A1; and Perkins D3*

1National Institute of Public Health (INSP), Bamako, Mali 

2G2 Global Solutions, Gainesville, VA, USA; contractor supporting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in Washington, DC, USA

3U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Washington, DC, USA

*Address correspondence to Dr. Dana Perkins, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), O’Neill House Office Building, Office #5306, 200 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20515, USA

Orchid No: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3098-2119

 

ABSTRACT

Adherence to biosafety and biosecurity standards and practices by those involved in the life sciences is essential to protecting the health of humans, animals, and the environment. Fostering a culture of responsibility is one of the underlying tenets of the Biological Weapons Convention, the Global Health Security Agenda, Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations, and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. It also underpins national and international efforts to protect science from misuse and to protect workers and the public from laboratory incidents. Unlike the nuclear domain, there is no available guidance or unified perspective on the nature of this culture or how it may be assessed. The International Working Group on Strengthening the Culture of Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Responsible Conduct in the Life Sciences developed a framework to assess organizational culture in biological laboratories based on the model developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency for nuclear facilities. This framework encompasses 1) management systems; 2) behavior of leadership and personnel; 3) principles for guiding decisions and behaviors; and 4) beliefs, opinions and attitudes. Here we present an example of how the beliefs, opinions, and attitudes element was employed to assess the organizational culture of laboratorians from five regions in Mali. This is the first assessment using the framework and, as such, provides a model for others seeking to improve biosafety and biosecurity, and may ultimately lead to international harmonization of this concept and provide a pathway to strengthen Mali’s laboratory system.

Keywords:Biosafety, biosecurity, Mali, responsible conduct, organizational culture

Dao K1; Tarangelo JP2; Epting M3; Keita A1; Mariko K1;Danskin K3; Iknane A1; and Perkins D3*
1National Institute of Public Health (INSP), Bamako, Mali
2G2 Global Solutions, Gainesville, VA, USA; contractor supporting the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in
Washington, DC, USA
3U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR),
Washington, DC, USA
*Address correspondence to Dr. Dana Perkins, U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Preparedness and Response (ASPR), O’Neill House Office Building,
Office #5306, 200 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20515, USA

Abstract

Adherence to biosafety and biosecurity standards and practices by those involved in the life sciences is
essential to protecting the health of humans, animals, and the environment. Fostering a culture of
responsibility is one of the underlying tenets of the Biological Weapons Convention, the Global Health
Security Agenda, Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations, and the Global
Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. It also underpins national
and international efforts to protect science from misuse and to protect workers and the public from
laboratory incidents. Unlike the nuclear domain, there is no available guidance or unified perspective on
the nature of this culture or how it may be assessed. The International Working Group on Strengthening
the Culture of Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Responsible Conduct in the Life Sciences developed a
framework to assess organizational culture in biological laboratories based on the model developed by
the International Atomic Energy Agency for nuclear facilities. This framework encompasses 1)
management systems; 2) behavior of leadership and personnel; 3) principles for guiding decisions and
behaviors; and 4) beliefs, opinions and attitudes. Here we present an example of how the beliefs,
opinions, and attitudes element was employed to assess the organizational culture of laboratorians from
five regions in Mali. This is the first assessment using the framework and, as such, provides a model for
others seeking to improve biosafety and biosecurity, and may ultimately lead to international
harmonization of this concept and provide a pathway to strengthen Mali’s laboratory system.

Keywords: Biosafety, biosecurity, Mali, responsible conduct, organizational culture

Corresponding Author’s Email: dana.perkins@hhs.gov