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Minimizing Risk of Poliovirus Release

In an effort to support the World Health Organization’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Center for Disease Control’s U.S. National Authority for Containment of Poliovirus (US NAC) has requested institutional biosafety committees/programs to assist with compiling the U.S. national inventory. To support the US NAC in this important effort, the Office of Research and Engagement is requesting that all UT research faculty assess their biological inventories (as applicable) for:

  1. Wild poliovirus stocks
  2. Oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) containing attenuated Sabin poliovirus or Sabin poliovirus-derived virotypes, or
  3. Potentially infectious materials (PIMs) that may contain (A) or (B) above. PIMs include: human fecal, respiratory, or cerebrospinal specimens; concentrated human sewage samples or sewage-contaminated surface water samples; or any derivatives of these materials.

While there are no UT IBC-approved studies involving wild or Sabin polioviruses/OPV, it is still important to review all freezer stocks as well as any PIMs. The relative risk of PIMs is determined by analytical testing for presence/absence of polioviruses, when and where samples were collected, and whether materials have been maintained under conditions that sustain virus infectivity (see risk flow diagram below).

If you have (or may have) any of the materials listed above, please contact the Biosafety Office at utbiosafety@utk.edu or (865) 974-1938 by Friday, May 24th so that they can assist with the risk determination and whether you will need to complete a materials inventory survey provided by the US NAC.

See the US NAC request for more details. Please contact the Biosafety Office if you have questions or need additional assistance.