Combating Covid-19 with Biosafety Cabinets

A Microbiological Safety Cabinet (BSC), is an enclosed, ventilated laboratory environment used for working safely with biological samples that are contaminated with (or potentially contaminated with) infectious agents, toxins, or cultures.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have issued guidelines on safe handling of COVID-19 samples and among them, using a Class 2 Biological Safety Cabinet when the procedures involve release of toxins and droplets resulting from technics like pipetting and other laboratory techniques.There are several types of BSC, which may be distinguished by the level of biocontainment they offer to protect against.

The functional objective of the Biosafety Cabinets is to safeguard laboratory personnel and the surrounding areas from infectious agents which are released when handling biological samples. Only select organisms from high-risk groups and procedures that might produce aerosols are handled in biosafety cabinets. These cabinets have HEPA filters installed, which clean the air exiting the cabinet.

A biological safety cabinet is configured to offer three different levels of protection, each to increasing degrees:

  1. Protection of the lab personnel from exposure to infectious agents from within the cabinet.
  2. Protecting the integrity of the test-samples to prevent cross-contamination from the procedure, andexternal environment.
  3. Environmental defense against any possible release of harmful toxins from within the cabinet.

It is crucial to determine whether these processes may result in agents that could be detrimental for the user, test samples and the environment. For instance, processes involving venal puncture, throat swabs, and skin or wound samples can all produce airborne particulates and droplets during processing; as a result, it’s possible that these processes call for the containment qualities a biosafety cabinet is intended to offer.

Applications of Biosafety cabinets:

  1. To lessen the risks to human health from handling infectious agents, toxins, and other biological hazards that might result from an inadvertent release or accidental exposure.
  2. Clinical and diagnostic, research& failure analysis, and medical countermeasure manufacturing facilities working with infectious microbes and other biological hazards impacting the health of humans, animals, and plants are among the different categories of laboratories that use biosafety concepts and practices.
  3. Although a biosafety cabinet is typically thought of as a laboratory device, it is being considered for use in a clinical setting to safeguard healthcare workers against contracting diseases like the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It shields laboratory personnel from exposure to infectious agents, toxins, or other deadly pathogens. A biological safety cabinet also offers a sterile workspace that keeps test samples apart, preventing cross-contamination and erroneous test results.


Biosafety Cabinets are the most popular defense in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 pandemic. It aids in preserving the safety of healthcare frontline workers and protecting the environment from any accidental release. The selection and utilization of BSCs in clinical and research laboratories handling or preparing to handle SARS-CoV-2 would benefit in sample collection, clinical trials and accelerate drug discovery to effectively combat this unprecedented global pandemic.

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