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Safe biotechnology: 7. Classification of microorganisms on the basis of hazard

, : Safe biotechnology: 7. Classification of microorganisms on the basis of hazard. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 45(6): 723-729

The current systems for classifying human pathogens on the basis of hazard are well developed and their basic criteria are in general agreement one with another. Of more importance, the safety practices based on these classifications have generally been successful. They have enabled extensive research activities, medical practice and industrial production to be conducted on an ever-increasing scale, involving dangerous microorganisms (e.g. in vaccine production and treatment of infected patients) with a very low incidence of adverse effects on the workers involved and the general public. Although the EU has adopted a harmonised list of agents in groups 1-4 there is as yet no complete agreement among member states and individual microbiologists. The purpose of this paper is to present a historical survey and to discuss the current processes for identifying and classifying the hazards posed by the use of microorganisms in research and technology. This is essential in the design of appropriate methods of counteracting potential risks.


DOI: 10.1007/s002530050754

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