1.2 Biosafety Hazards: Assisting Field Researchers and Protecting Local Communities

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1.2 Biosafety Hazards: Assisting Field Researchers and Protecting Local Communities

In preventing the outbreak of new or known diseases, it is critical for scientists to possess a robust set of tools to gather data, investigate and research pathogens. While doing so, many of these scientists must either gather the sample from the site of potential outbreaks, or work with individuals that gather such samples. In either case, there exists a risk for these personnel to contract the diseases that they’re trying to research. Additionally, many local communities may not understand the risk that certain pathogens expose them to. Hence it is important to inform these local communities, design a method to protect them from the pathogens, as well as contain the disease; all to prevent a widespread outbreak. 

Your task is to design a safer way for local communities to better contain biosafety and biosecurity risks. Additionally, design an innovative approach for local communities to aid researchers in gathering data of emerging pathogens within local communities. 

Example: The use of fabric masks in lieu of an N95 masks is widespread in many parts of the world to prevent the spread of COVID19. These masks are an effective tool in containing biosafety hazards when local communities come into contact with COVID19 researchers, and the use of fabric masks instead of N95 masks ensure that most communities have easy access to obtain or manufacture it themselves. However, other protective equipment (PPE) and preventive tools, such as hand soap maybe harder to obtain in remote areas. Come up with an innovative alternative to PPE and other preventive tools that protects researchers and local communities from biosafety hazards. 

Oxfam Hygiene kits to decrease disease transmission2

Related Ideas: Prevention of diseases, Realtime surveillance and reporting, Risk communication 

Further Readings:

[1] WHO Biosafety and Biosecurity Factsheet: https://www.who.int/influenza/pip/BiosecurityandBiosafety_EN_20Mar2018.pdf
[2] Oxfam open repository, Hygiene Kits:
https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/298949/tbn-hygiene-kits-010108-en.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y