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Environmental Health & Safety

37 Dewey Field Road
Suite 6216
Hanover, NH 03755-3529
Phone: (603) 646-1762
Fax: (603) 646-2622
Email: ehs@dartmouth.edu
 

Dartmouth Compliance Matrix

Complex organizations such as Dartmouth comply with a multitude of policies, laws, and regulations.  Risk and Internal Controls has developed a compliance matrix to guide the Dartmouth community in identifying key compliance areas, the Dartmouth staff responsible for various aspects of compliance oversight, and where to go to learn more about each compliance area.
Open the Matrix

WORKING WITH VIRAL VECTORS

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Introduction

Viruses and viral vectors are extremely valuable research tools to the molecular biology community. As recombinant molecules, viral vectors are regulated by the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines, 2013). Thus, it is important for users to understand the origins of these tools and potential implications of their use.
The Dartmouth IBC Viral Vector Use Policy contains quick biosafety guidance on commonly used viral vectors and proper methods of decontamination, disposal, and incident reporting.
Summary Chart of Viral Vector Biosafety Levels (BSL)/Animal Biosafety Levels (ABSL)

Biosafety Concerns Unique to Viral Vectors

Rendering an infectious virus to be replication incompetent or otherwise attenuated lowers the risk of working with them, and later generation viral vector systems are generally safer than early generation systems. However, these improvements in safety and the increased commercial availability of viral vectors have resulted in a culture around their use that includes a false sense of security and a decrease in practicing safe science. Furthermore, recombination events or contamination from wild-type virus can result in the presence of replication competent virus (RCV) in a population of replication deficient viral vectors.

NIH Guidelines FAQ's re: Working with Lentiviral Vectors

Research Oversight

Because viral vectors are subject to the NIH Guidelines, the Dartmouth Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) must review each project involving viral vectors. This review is done through registering the work in BioRAFT. IBC review will include a risk assessment to determine the appropriate biosafety level, PPE, and disposal methods. Use of a higher-level containment facility or PPE may be required in some cases, depending on the specific properties of the vector and/or insert. Special care should be given to the design and handling of virus vectors containing genes that make growth-regulating products (oncogenes, growth factors, etc), products released into the circulation, or products that may have a general effect on the host- immune system or may be shed from animals (toxins).

Required Training

All research personnel working with lentiviral vectors, gamma retroviral vectors, adenoviral vectors, and adeno-associated (AAV) viral vectors are required to take the excellent online training kindly available from the University of Cincinnati Office of Research Integrity:

Module 1: Viral Vectors Risk Assessment
Module 2: Lentiviral Vectors
Module 3: Gamma-retroviral "retroviral" Vectors
Module 4: Adenoviral Vectors
Module 5: Adeno-Associated Viral (AAV) Vectors

Last Updated: 10/25/17