Coronavirus: Picture of lab accidents in Canada

While the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from a Chinese scientific research center is still the subject of serious debate, statistics from the Canadian Federal Monitoring Agency for Accredited Scientific Laboratories indicate that incidents there are very common across the country.

the system Reporting laboratory accidents Health Canada reported 42 confirmed exposures in 2016, 38 in 2017, 81 in 2018, and 55 in 2019. Data for 2020 on exposure incidents, reported since 2015, will be released within Only a few weeks.

In total, by adding suspected or confirmed injuries to exposure incidents, we arrive at 60 cases affecting 86 people for 2019. Health Canada identifies in Should 11 of these incidents were related to viral agents in 2019. Two incidents in security level 3 laboratories (on a scale of 4) involved exposure to rabies virus.

The annual exposure rate was six percent to allowable accidents, most cases involving microbiology (65%) in academia (37%). The most frequent error is the procedural error (23%).

However, there have been no fatal cases of infection in the laboratory supervised by Health Canada.

Laboratory biosafety has become a hot topic with the current pandemic. The hypotheses of a coronavirus leak from a Chinese laboratory, which were initially linked to conspiracy theories, seem to have become worthy of logical mention in recent months.

Eighteen scholars claimed In May, in the review ScienceAn in-depth investigation into the origins of the epidemic. Then US President Joe Biden commissioned an intelligence report. The analysis presented at the end of August is not intended to be conclusive, This is partly because China has refused to fully cooperate with the investigators. So the conundrum remains, even if animal-to-human transmission remains the most generally accepted option.

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“To prevent another pandemic, it would be very helpful to know how it started,” the magazine concluded at the beginning of the month. The Economist, The most widely read about the world’s liberal elites. The text indicates that the influenza pandemic that killed 700,000 in 1977 appears to be related to a leak from a laboratory in the Soviet Union or China.

Standards to be observed

“The SARS-CoV-2 sequence shows no trace of genetic manipulation in the laboratory,” comments Liet Laflame, PhD, a biochemist and researcher in microbiology at the University of Sherbrooke. I think this is probably not the case. Can a coronavirus strain already in the lab infect someone and spread? It is not impossible. This Chinese laboratory is known for studying coronaviruses. “

NSI Laflame was responsible for biosecurity at his university for eight years. Registered with Public Health Canada as required since 2015 by Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. It monitors full compliance with general rules in about forty labs on campus, and explains that it does “everything you can think of, from possession to handling, through import and even eradication of pathogens.”

The University’s Director of Biosecurity has referred only two incidents to the relevant authorities since the regulation on mandatory national reporting came into force, on 1He is Dec 2015. One for exposing a doctoral student to animal pathogens. Another infection in a student’s skin that didn’t come from the lab at last.

Canadian laboratories are required to have a Risk Group (GR) license to carry out their controlled activities. There are four levels of low risk for an individual and society ranging from low (GR1) to medium (GR2), then high for the individual but low for the community (GR3) to high for the community and individuals (GR4).

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L’université sherbrookoise détient une license pour les laboratoires de confinement de niveau 2. Les agents pathogènes très nombreux du GR2 sont de types plus opportunistes, plus courants et traitables, comme infections ceux causant le la rhume, la rhume, la Inflammation of the stomach and intestines. A Level 3 license was not required to begin research involving manipulation of the virus causing the epidemic.

Health Canada currently supervises 942 active Level II licenses, which are two risk group licenses. Health Canada has not reported the list and location of the research centers.

high level

There are currently 26 containment level 3 laboratories in Canada that are licensed to work with SARS-CoV-2. The Research Center of the Center Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM) includes 11 core containment research laboratories and a level 3 containment platform. Its teams are allowed to deal with some pathogens of this level of risk. Including HIV, TB factor and SARS-CoV-2.

writes in Should Lucy Dufresne, Chum’s PR. Their work has important implications for the development of new treatment strategies. “

NSI Dufresne adds that biosecurity requirements remain very stringent, according to rules issued by Health Canada.

“Very few people at CRCHUM are authorized to handle SARS-CoV-2 in a CL3 laboratory with the appropriate equipment (dry suits, air-supplied respirator, etc.). Their entrances and exits are recorded in a log and controlled with cards and readers. Biometrics and cameras. The projects they are working on have been approved by the CRCHUM Biosafety Committee.”

It is clear that risks and precautions increase in laboratories that handle the deadliest of biological objects. During the past decade, about twenty laboratories of maximum biosafety level (Level 4) have been opened around the world. The largest of its kind in Canada is located in Winnipeg. The Wuhan laboratory is among the last to receive international certification, just before the outbreak of the epidemic.

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