The federal government this week unveiled plans for a new “tiered” designation of pathogens on the Select Agent and Toxins List. The changes require more stringent precautions at scientific facilities holding any of the newly designated “Tier 1” agents, which include Bacillus anthracis, Burkholderia mallei and pseudomallei, Foot-and-mouth disease virus, Ebola, Marburg virus and plague.
The revision requires installations dealing with Tier 1 agents to enhance the frequency and of investigations on personnel with access to the materials. Such facilities must also establish an auxiliary power mechanism and no fewer than three physical “security barriers” for agent holding areas, as well as institute procedures limiting agent access to federally vetted personnel. (Source: NTI GSN)
“Such tiering of the list allows for the optimization of security measures for those select agents or toxins that present the greatest risk of deliberate misuse with the most significant potential for mass casualties or devastating effects to the economy, critical infrastructure, or public confidence,” stated the notice.
The reorganization comes as part of the biennial review of the Select Agents program required under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002. The notice will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, available here.