WASHINGTON—Federal biosafety guidelines for laboratories handling the AIDS virus are appropriate, a team of virus safety experts has concluded after investigating labs working with large amounts of highly concentrated AIDS virus. But workers need to better understand how and why the practices should be followed.

The four-member group, formed last month after NIH announced that an unidentified lab worker was infected while working with the virus, spent two weeks at the dozen or so NIH contract facilities and AIDS antibody test producers that work with large quantities of concentrated virus.

“It’s very important that labs fully accept their role of managing safety, which implies more than just a knowledge of basic practices outlined by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and NIH,” said Emmett Barkley, director of NIH’s Division of Engineering Services, who led the investigation. “The techniques required to handle a pathogen cannot be mastered by reading a safety...

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