Modelling the expected rate of laboratory biosafety breakdowns involving rinderpest virus in the post-eradication era.

Beauvais, W; Fournié, G; Jones, BA; Cameron, A; Njeumi, F; Lubroth, J; Pfeiffer, DU; (2013) Modelling the expected rate of laboratory biosafety breakdowns involving rinderpest virus in the post-eradication era. Preventive veterinary medicine, 112 (3-4). pp. 248-56. ISSN 0167-5877 DOI:

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Now that we are in the rinderpest post-eradication era, attention is focused on the risk of re-introduction. A semi-quantitative risk assessment identified accidental use of rinderpest virus in laboratories as the most likely cause of re-introduction. However there is little data available on the rates of laboratory biosafety breakdowns in general. In addition, any predictions based on past events are subject to various uncertainties. The aims of this study were therefore to investigate the potential usefulness of historical data for predicting the future risk of rinderpest release via laboratory biosafety breakdowns, and to investigate the impacts of the various uncertainties on these predictions. Data were collected using a worldwide online survey of laboratories, a structured search of ProMED reports and discussion with experts. A stochastic model was constructed to predict the number of laboratory biosafety breakdowns involving rinderpest that will occur over the next 10 years, based on: (1) the historical rate of biosafety breakdowns; and (2) the change in the number of laboratories that will have rinderpest virus in the next 10 years compared to historically. The search identified five breakdowns, all of which occurred during 1970-2000 and all of which were identified via discussions with experts. Assuming that our search for historical events had a sensitivity of over 60% and there has been at least a 40% reduction in the underlying risk (attributable to decreased laboratory activity post eradication) the most likely number of biosafety events worldwide was estimated to be zero over a 10 year period. However, the risk of at least one biosafety breakdown remains greater than 1 in 10,000 unless the sensitivity was at least 99% or the number of laboratories has decreased by at least 99% (based on 2000-2010 during which there were no biosafety breakdowns).

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 24029703
Web of Science ID: 327228100009


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