Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of Biosafety Professionals

David Gillum, Henry Wyneken, Jennifer Fletcher, Karl Nubbe, Kathleen M. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Biosafety professionals were called to action during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were tasked with prescribing measures to keep workers and the community safe while often not having accurate information at their fingertips. Understanding biosafety professionals' experiences may help shape new approaches that could further advance preparedness and resilience goals for future pandemics. This article discusses the overall response efforts of the biosafety community. Objectives: The main objective of this article is to quantitatively and qualitatively interrogate the responses to an email survey sent to individuals with biosafety responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article catalogues those responses and the different aspects in how biosafety professionals were involved in the pandemic. The focus of this research was on aggregate data and summarized results. Results: A total of 609 out of 654 respondents fully completed the survey, equating to a 93.1% completion rate. Respondents were individuals with varying levels of COVID-19-related responsibilities participating in emergency preparedness and planning, developing laboratory diagnostic capabilities, reviewing clinical trials, developing safety guidelines, writing return-To-work and quarantine procedures, and participating in press releases and communications. Conclusions: Biosafety professionals played important roles during the COVID-19 pandemic, from developing safety protocols for laboratories to resourcing personal protective equipment during a global shortage. They experienced challenges when balancing their home/work lives. Some biosafety professionals were very involved in clinical trials and vaccination efforts, but most were not. Overall, there were significant differences in how biosafety professionals were involved in pandemic response efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-143
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Biosafety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • biosafety
  • pandemic
  • stress
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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