Sandia National Laboratories' International Biological Threat Reduction Department (SNL/IBTR) has an ongoing mission to reduce biological risks. In that mission, IBTR has been actively developing biorisk assessment methodologies and tools. These methods and tools will aid laboratories seeking to implement biorisk mitigation measures in a manner advocated by the World Health Organization. IBTR has two biorisk models and software tools for conducting laboratory biosafety and biosecurity risk assessment.
The biorisk assessment models were designed for use by biorisk officers at laboratories and provide visualization of the relative risks, and help to identify risk measures. These models have incorporated IBTR and international biorisk officer experience in drafting sets of criteria, prioritizing the criteria, and outlining scoring functions for the criteria. The main objective of these models is to help strengthen risk governance in the laboratories by providing assessment methods that are standardized, systematic and repeatable. Biorisk subject matter expertise was critical in the development of these models, as there currently is no straight imperial data for laboratory biorisks.
Risk is defined by likelihood and consequences. For biosafety, likelihood is defined by the likelihood of infection and exposure via an infectious route of a biological agent. Consequences are defined as the consequences of disease to the at-risk population. The populations of concern include persons in and around the laboratory, the human population outside the laboratory, and the animal community outside the laboratory. For biosecurity, likelihood is defined as the likelihood the theft of a biological agent and the severity of the consequence of an attack with that agent.
The assessment process is broken into components:
Evaluate the biological agents that exist in the facility.
Evaluate the facility processes and procedures.
Evaluate the in place biorisk mitigation measures.
For Biosecurity, evaluate the potential adversaries of the facility.
Within each component are several criteria and sub-criteria that are scored independently. These scores are weighted and then rolled up to provide the overall consequence and likelihood score. This method is based on a Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) scheme, quantifying the various aspects of biorisk using qualitative definitions
The final results show the relative risk of agents at the given facility, and give program management a mechanism to determine risks that are unacceptable. This scheme can aid program management in allocating recourses to mitigate facility biorisks; or to assess current biorisk program management effectiveness.
BIO-RAM Fact Sheet