Institutional Biosafety Committee Roles and Responsibilities for Recombinant DNA Research

A summary of the roles and responsibilities of the IBC

Section IV-B-2. Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
The institution shall establish an Institutional Biosafety Committee whose responsibilities need not be restricted to recombinant DNA. The Institutional Biosafety Committee shall meet the following requirements.

Section IV-B-2-a. Membership and Procedures

Section IV-B-2-a-(1). The Institutional Biosafety Committee must be comprised of no fewer than five members so selected that they collectively have experience and expertise in recombinant DNA technology and the capability to assess the safety of recombinant DNA research and to identify any potential risk to public health or the environment. At least two members shall not be affiliated with the institution (apart from their membership on the Institutional Biosafety Committee) and who represent the interest of the surrounding community with respect to health and protection of the environment (e.g., officials of state or local public health or environmental protection agencies, members of other local government bodies, or persons active in medical, occupational health, or environmental concerns in the community). The Institutional Biosafety Committee shall include at least one individual with expertise in plant, plant pathogen, or plant pest containment principles when experiments utilizing Appendix P, Physical and Biological Containment for Recombinant DNA Research Involving Plants, require Institutional Biosafety Committee prior approval. When the institution conducts recombinant DNA research at BL3, BL4, or Large Scale (greater than 10 liters), a Biological Safety Officer is mandatory and shall be a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (see Section IV-B-3, Biological Safety Officer). When the institution participates in or sponsors recombinant DNA research involving human subjects, the institution must ensure that: (i) the Institutional Biosafety Committee has adequate expertise and training (using ad hoc consultants as deemed necessary) and (ii) all aspects of Appendix M, Points to Consider in the Design and Submission of Protocols for the Transfer of Recombinant DNA Molecules into One or More Human Subjects (Points to Consider), have been appropriately addressed by the Principal Investigator prior to submission to NIH/ORDS. Institutional Biosafety Committee approval must be obtained from each institution at which recombinant DNA material will be administered to human subjects (as opposed to each institution involved in the production of vectors for human application and each institution at which there is ex vivo trandsuction of recombinant DNA material into target cells for human application).

Note: Individuals, corporations, and institutions not otherwise covered by the NIH Guidelines, are encouraged to adhere to the standards and procedures set forth in Sections I through IV (see Section IV-E, Voluntary Compliance. The policy and procedures for establishing an Institutional Biosafety Committee under Voluntary Compliance, are specified in Section IV-D-2, Institutional Biosafety Committee Approval).

Section IV-B-2-a-(2). In order to ensure the competence necessary to review and approve recombinant DNA activities, it is recommended that the Institutional Biosafety Committee: (i) include persons with expertise in recombinant DNA technology, biological safety, and physical containment; (ii) include or have available as consultants persons knowledgeable in institutional commitments and policies, applicable law, standards of professional conduct and practice, community attitudes, and the environment, and (iii) include at least one member representing the laboratory technical staff.

Section IV-B-2-a-(3). The institution shall file an annual report with the NIH/ORDA which includes: (i) a roster of all Institutional Biosafety Committee members clearly indicating the Chair, contact person, Biological Safety Officer (if applicable), plant expert (if applicable), human gene therapy expertise or ad hoc consultant (if applicable); and (ii) biographical sketches of all Institutional Biosafety Committee members (including community members).

Section IV-B-2-a-(4). No member of an Institutional Biosafety Committee may be involved (except to provide information requested by the Institutional Biosafety Committee) in review or approval of a project in which he/she has been or expects to be engaged or has a direct financial interest.

Section IV-B-2-a-(5). The institution, that is ultimately responsible for the effectiveness of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, may establish procedures that the Institutional Biosafety Committee shall follow in its initial and continuing review and approval of applications, proposals, and activities.

Section IV-B-2-a-(6). When possible and consistent with protection of privacy and proprietary interests, the institution is encouraged to open its Institutional Biosafety Committee meetings to the public.

Section IV-B-2-a-(7). Upon request, the institution shall make available to the public all Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting minutes and any documents submitted to or received from funding agencies which the latter are required to make available to the public. If public comments are made on Institutional Biosafety Committee actions, the institution shall forward both the public comments and the Institutional Biosafety Committee's response to the Office of Recombinant DNA Activities, National Institutes of Health/MSC 7010, 6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 302, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7010, (301) 496-9838.

Section IV-B-2-b. Functions
On behalf of the institution, the Institutional Biosafety Committee is responsible for:

Section IV-B-2-b-(1). Reviewing recombinant DNA research conducted at or sponsored by the institution for compliance with the NIH Guidelines as specified in Section III, Experiments Covered by the NIH Guidelines, and approving those research projects that are found to conform with the NIH Guidelines. This review shall include: (i) independent assessment of the containment levels required by the NIH Guidelines for the proposed research; (ii) assessment of the facilities, procedures, practices, and training and expertise of personnel involved in recombinant DNA research; and (iii) ensuring compliance with all surveillance, data reporting, and adverse event reporting requirements required by the NIH Guidelines.

Section IV-B-2-b-(2). Notifying the Principal Investigator of the results of the Institutional Biosafety Committee's review and approval.

Section IV-B-2-b-(3). Lowering containment levels for certain experiments as specified in Section III-D-2-a, Experiments in which DNA from Risk Group 2, Risk Group 3, Risk Group 4, or Restricted Agents is Cloned into Nonpathogenic Prokaryotic or Lower Eukaryotic Host-Vector Systems.

Section IV-B-2-b-(4). Setting containment levels as specified in Sections III-D-4-b, Experiments Involving Whole Animals, and III-D-5, Experiments Involving Whole Plants.

Section IV-B-2-b-(5). Periodically reviewing recombinant DNA research conducted at the institution to ensure compliance with the NIH Guidelines.

Section IV-B-2-b-(6). Adopting emergency plans covering accidental spills and personnel contamination resulting from recombinant DNA research.

Note: The Laboratory Safety Monograph describes basic elements for developing specific procedures dealing with major spills of potential hazardous materials in the laboratory, including information and references about decontamination and emergency plans. The NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are available to provide consultation and direct assistance, if necessary, as posted in the Laboratory Safety Monograph. The institution shall cooperate with the state and local public health departments by reporting any significant research-related illness or accident that may be hazardous to the public health.

Section IV-B-2-b-(7). Reporting any significant problems with or violations of the NIH Guidelines and any significant research-related accidents or illnesses to the appropriate institutional official and NIH/ORDA within 30 days, unless the Institutional Biosafety Committee determines that a report has already been filed by the Principal Investigator. Reports to NIH/ORDA shall be sent to the Office of Recombinant DNA Activities, National Institutes of Health/MSC 7010, 6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 302, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7010, (301) 496-9838.

Section IV-B-2-b-(8). The Institutional Biosafety Committee may not authorize initiation of experiments which are not explicitly covered by the NIH Guidelines until NIH (with the advice of the RAC when required) establishes the containment requirement.

Section IV-B-2-b-(9). Performing such other functions as may be delegated to the Institutional Biosafety Committee under Section IV-B-2, Institutional Biosafety Committee.