Keywords: biosecurity, laboratory, material control, material accountability, pathogens, security, stocks, toxins, biological security, risk assessment, biological threats, bioterrorism
Material control and accountability for laboratory biosecurity
Laboratory biosecurity refers to a suite of measures to protect legitimate stocks of dangerous pathogens and toxins from being acquired by individuals with malicious intent. Intentional misuse presents a different problem than accidental misuse, which is the subject of laboratory biosafety. In particular, the material control and accountability (MC&A) component of laboratory biosecurity addresses an insider threat. MC&A directly involves the personnel who work with pathogens and toxins that could be attractive to bioterrorists. Control of material comprises both procedural and physical measures for both material and MC&A-relevant information. Accountability requires a one-to-one correspondence between materials and people, together with a system of records, reporting and audit. Key elements of MC&A should be understood intellectually, rather than being applied simply as a prescriptive list of security measures. MC&A measures reflect an additional stewardship responsibility that technical people accept in working with material that could harm others if used improperly.