Journal Articles

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Applied Biosafety


INTRODUCTION: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid adjustment of work tasks was necessary for many biosafety programs (and other safety programs) to address drastic shifts in workload demands amid pandemic-related shutdowns and subsequent needs for supporting COVID-19-related safe work protocols, diagnostic testing, research, vaccine development, and so forth. From a program management standpoint, evaluating and understanding these tasks were critically important to ensure that appropriate support and resources were in place, especially during such unprecedented times of rapid change and significant impact to normal life and routine.

METHODS: Described here are examples of how the biosafety program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston) addressed these challenges.

RESULTS: As part of this required pivot, key services and tasks emerged into three distinct categories: (1) those that were temporarily diminished, (2) those that had to continue despite COVID-19 and the associated shutdowns for safety or compliance purposes, and (3) those that dramatically increased in volume, frequency, and novelty.

CONCLUSION: Although the adjustments described were made in situ as the pandemic evolved, the cataloging of these tasks throughout the experience can serve as a template for biosafety programs to plan and prepare for the next pandemic, which will inevitably occur.


COVID-19, biosafety professional, biosafety program management, biosafety services, pandemic



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