COVID-19 NBS Response: Biosafety of Specimens

Date: July 2020

COVID-19 Biosafety of Specimens Challenges, Practices and Resources: (refer to the COVID-19 web page


Practices  Challenges Resources/Strategies
Biosafety of Specimens                    
  • There have been questions about handling newborn screening dried blood spot specimens that may be contaminiated with SARS-CoV-2, the infectious disease agent that causes COVID-19
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued the following guidance: 
    • For laboratory personnel: If you are working in the laboratory with clinical specimens, guidance from CDC can be found under "Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019" 
    • For the types of specimens that newborn screening programs work with, the general guidance remains: follow standard precautions when handling clinical specimens, all of which may contain potentially infectious materials. Standard precautions include hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as laboratory coats or gowns, gloves, and eye protection. 
    • For any steps in your procedures that are likely to generate aerosols or droplets (i.e. vortexing, pipetting), work inside a BSC or chemical fume hood 
    • Follow routine laboratory practices and procedures for decontamination of work surfaces and management of laboratory waste. 
    • For a list of disinfectants for use against COVID-19 visit "List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2"
  • APHL hosted a "hot topic" call addressing biosafety