Biological agents are classified according to risk groups and
the biosafety level which are described later on in this section.
These classifications presume ordinary circumstances or growth
in small volumes for diagnostic and experimental purposes.
The classifications of biological agents primarily reflect
the judgments made on their inherent risks. The agents
listed below ere chosen because they seem to be frequently used
in research and diagnostic activity at LBNL.
Since no list can be all inclusive, if the agent you are working
with or intend to work with is not listed, you are encouraged
to classify your agent on the basis of similarity to those listed;
risk groups for others will be identified on request to the
As a general precaution, the risk group for agents should be
raised when manipulation may result in the production of infectious
aerosols. Agents of similar pathogenic characteristics not included
in these lists should be considered in the same risk category.
The lists presented here may not be complete - many agents
are referred to in the literature by a variety of names, therefore,
before assuming that an unlisted organism is classified in Risk
Group 1, its characteristics, and pathogenicity must be verified
in consultation with the Biosafety Officer.
RISK GROUP 1 AGENTS:
This Group consists of biological agents that pose low individual
and community risk and are highly unlikely to cause disease
in healthy workers or animals. The agents require Biosafety
Level 1 containment.
Risk Group 1 Agents that are not associated with disease in
healthy adult humans
- Recombinant DNA activity requiring Level 1 containment.
- Microorganisms of minimal or no biohazard potential.
RISK GROUP 2 AGENTS:
This Group consists of biological agents that under unusual
circumstances can cause human illness. Under normal circumstances,
they are unlikely to be a serious hazard to laboratory workers,
the community or the environment. Laboratory exposures
rarely cause infection leading to serious disease; effective
treatment and preventive measures are available and the risk
of spread is limited.
RISK GROUP 3 AGENTS: (high individual risk, low community
This Group consists of biological agents that usually cause
serious human or animal disease, or which can result in serious
economic consequences but are not ordinarily spread by casual
contact from one individual to another.
Note: Laboratories engaging primary in the isolation and identification
of HTLV or HIV may perform these activities in containment level
2 laboratories (physical requirements) using containment level
3 procedures and practices (level 2+).
All research and production activities require level 3 containment.
Diseases are frequently treatable with antibacterial, antiviral,
anti fungal and antiparasitic drugs.
RISK GROUP 4 AGENTS:
This Group consists of biological agents that usually produce
very serious human or animal disease, often untreatable, and
may be readily transmitted from one individual to an other,
or from animal to human or vice-versa, either directly indirectly,
or by casual contact.