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Laboratory Biosafety Manual, 4th Edition and Associated Monographs

[WHO LBM, 4th ed.]

The WHO LBM informs best practices for safely handling biological agents in laboratories. It consists of a core document that explains the evidence and risk based approach that LBM uses. It also contains 7 subject specific monographs on topics ranging from risk assessment to waste management to laboratory design.

SUMMARY

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Laboratory Biosafety Manual (LBM) informs best practices for safely handling biological agents in laboratories. It consists of a core document that explains the evidence and risk based approach that the LBM uses. It also contains seven subject specific monographs on topics ranging from risk assessment to waste management to laboratory design, each of which has their own entry in this library. The manual aims to be technology-neutral and cost-effective by focusing on a risk-based approach that can be applied in a locally relevant and sustainable way in laboratories across the world. 

The LBM guidelines have been globally recognized as a fundamental resource for laboratory biosafety since the first edition was released in 1983. While the standards outlined in this manual are not legally binding, they have become the de facto global standard for biosafety and have inspired many national codes. These guidelines are developed with experts from around the world, and were most recently updated for the fourth edition in 2020, which places a larger emphasis on an evidence and risk-based approach to biosafety and biosecurity.

Previous editions of the manual have been published in 13 languages, although, as of the last time this library was updated, the 4th edition was only available in English. The development of the manual is led by the Biosecurity and Health Security Interface at the WHO, a team who also supports national implementation efforts of the International Health Regulations and emergency preparedness.