⚠️ Ethical considerations in the use of microorganisms — hazards and control of risks

The use of microorganisms has a multi-fold hazard perspective. Some microorganisms are inherently pathogenic and very dangerous to humans e.g. anthrax by Bacillus anthracis. Others, and arguably most others, are not expected to have any negative effect on humans. However, given that some species turn pathogenic in some situations, it is a good idea to treat these other species as potentially pathogenic.


On top of this, there is a separate element of genetic modification that in itself becomes a risk.



Working with microorganisms that are known pathogens is straightforward in the sense that their pathogenicity may already be well understood, and hence the precautions required to contain the risk can be established rationally and effectively. Depending on the level of risk posed by different pathogens, different biosafety levels are implemented that guide the steps required in handling the microorganism.



Biosafety levels 1 through 4 represent the…

Test Call to Action!