We had to conceive our project and make design choices that would result in an efficient, usable and safe diagnostics kit to the general public. There is no doubt that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have a notoriously questionable reputation in Europe and the world. Based on this input, our design does not contain, or release into the environment, any GMOs.
All the used parts and organisms are Risk Group 1. Experiments were carried out using Mycobacterium smegmatis because the team could not get the needed training to access the required biosafety level laboratory.
Before starting the lab work, the team members were given a biosafety and lab security workshop directed by Maialen CHABALIER (the Biosafety officer and technician). The objective of the workshop was to ensure the well-being of students and to avoid injuries or contamination. The workshop also covered: laboratory access rules, general laboratory practices, personnel security equipment, chemical labelling, biohazard labelling and waste disposal. Safety procedures and practices include:
- A strict dress code: closed shoes, long pants, longsleeved lab coats, gloves, tied hair...
- Regularly disinfecting workbenches.
- Dedicating a specific workbench for manipulating potentially toxic chemicals (GelRed nucleic acid stain, polyacrylamide...).
- Wearing a safety mask and working under an extractor hood when manipulating volatile and/or toxic chemicals or organisms.
Offering everyone the safest possible working environment is a priority for the CNRS establishment. Thus, a prevention guide grouping health, safety, and environmental guidelines were always around. Safety was the pillar on which our work stood. Integrating the various procedures into our daily lab work facilitated our performance.