The committee reports to the Executive Vice President for Research on matters related to infectious diseases and the use of biological agents in research, clinical and education activities at UTHealth. Specific tasks include:
- To recommend to the Executive Vice President for Research policies and procedures that ensure the health and safety of all individuals within UTHealth, and to ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state and local statutes, regulations, procedures and principles relating to the purchase, storage, use, and disposal of biological hazards used in UTHealth research, clinical and educational programs.
- To review the protocols provided by principal investigators, clinical directors or laboratory instructors relating to the use of biological hazards and to review the activities of EH&S in certifying the appropriate biosafety containment level of those laboratories, clinics and/or practices. Activities identified as Biosafety Level 2 and greater may not initiate without written consent of the BSC.
- To recommend to the Executive Vice President for Research the need for general and specific training programs for research, clinical and teaching activities dealing with biological hazards, and to review the appropriateness and effectiveness of such UTHealth training programs.
- To submit reports at least annually, to the Executive Vice President for Research summarizing activities and reviewing the status of significant biological safety issues identified during the year.
The Infectious Diseases Review Panel
The BSC has assumed the responsibilities formerly held by the Infectious Diseases Review Panel which include:
Review instances of HIV, HBV, HCV or other bloodborne pathogens and TB and other serious infectious diseases in students, researchers, and health care workers, to identify exposure-prone procedures and to determine those circumstances, if any, under which a student, researcher, or health care worker who is infected may perform such procedures.
To recommend to the Executive Vice President for Research infectious disease control policies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of all patients, staff and faculty of UTHealth.
To recommend to the Executive Vice President for Research policies and procedures to ensure UTHealth compliance with all federal, state, and local statutes, regulations, procedures and principles relating to TB, HIV, HBV, HCV, and other significant pathogens.
To identify tasks that carry the risk for transmission and the employees or occupational groups that are involved.
To review and contribute to the update of the Institutional Biosafety Manual, Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan, and TB Exposure Control Plan annually, or as necessary.
To define and monitor compliance with the written plan and to monitor follow-up for those employees who test positive for any of the identified pathogens.
UTHealth Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is designated as the monitoring and effecter arm of the BSC.
All activities of the committee are coordinated, as necessary, with other institutional components including the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), UT Employee Health Services, Center for Laboratory Animal Medicine and Care (CLAMC) and other UTHealth oversight committees, such as the IRB [Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS)] and the IACUC [Animal Welfare Committee (AWC)].
The current list of BSC members can be found online here.