Introduction

Reviewed within this chapter are issues dealing with handling biological threat samples within the laboratory. This seemingly simple subject becomes paramount when forensic issues arise concerning how samples were collected, handled, transported, stabilized, extracted, analyzed, secured, archived, and disposed of, should data from such manipulations be presented in a court of law.1,2 It is not the purpose of this chapter to provide a "cookbook'' of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to address the step-by-step handling of biological threat samples (Figure 11.1), but rather to touch on issues that will influence a laboratory's implementation of an operational strategy for sample handling that will withstand political, scientific, and legal scrutiny in a court of law. Many of these issues were identified as a result of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases' (USAMRIID) experience with numerous biological threat samples, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), prosecuting and defense attorneys, and with quality systems.

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