The purpose of serum banking is to give the University the ability to compare serum obtained after an acute illness or exposure with serum obtained before the illness or exposure began. Serum banking should be conducted only when there is a clear reason for obtaining the specimens and a plan to analyze the data as part of a risk assessment strategy. The CDC and NIH (CDC-NIH 1999) recommend serum banking and serological surveillance when a substantial risk of occupational illness is associated with an agent under study and methods are available to measure immunological response to the agent. All biohazardous research conducted at, or sponsored by the University of Massachusetts, is conducted in accordance with NIH/CDC Guidelines in Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL).
Many important issues would need to be implemented in advance of instituting a serum banking program including chain of custody, confidentiality, identification and handling of samples, retention, potential deterioration of sample quality over time, and cost. The program should include informed consent of employees and should allow them to decline to participate.
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