Biorisk Assessment Models (BioRAMs)

Sandia National Laboratories' International Biological Threat Reduction Department (SNL/IBTR) has an ongoing mission to reduce biological risks. In that mission, IBTR has been actively developing biorisk assessment methodologies and tools. These methods and tools will aid laboratories seeking to implement biorisk mitigation measures in a manner advocated by the World Health Organization. IBTR has two biorisk models and software tools for conducting laboratory biosafety and biosecurity risk assessment.

The biorisk assessment models were designed for use by biorisk officers at laboratories and provide visualization of the relative risks, and help to identify risk mitigation measures. These models have incorporated IBTR and international biorisk officer experience in drafting sets of criteria, prioritizing the criteria, and outlining scoring functions for the criteria. The main objective of these models is to help strengthen risk governance in the laboratories by providing assessment methods that are is standardized, systematic, and repeatable. Biorisk subject matter expertise was critical in the development of these models, as there currently is no straight imperial data for laboratory biorisks.

Risk is defined by likelihood and consequences. For biosafety, likelihood is defined by the likelihood of infection and exposure via an infectious route of a biological agent. Consequences are defined as the consequences of disease to the at risk population. The populations of concern include persons in and around the laboratory, the human population outside the laboratory, and the animal community outside the laboratory. For biosecurity, likelihood is defined as the likelihood of theft of a biological agent and the severity of the consequence of an attack with that agent.

    The assessment process is broken into components:
    Evaluate the biological agents that exist at the facility.
    Evaluate the facility processes and procedures.
    Evaluate the in place biorisk mitigation measures.
    For Biosecurity, evaluate the potential adversaries of the facility.
Within each component are several criteria and sub-criteria that are scored independently. These scores are weighted and then rolled up to provide the overall consequence and likelihood score. This method is based on a Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) scheme, quantifying the various aspects of biorisk using qualitative definitions.

The final results show the relative risk of agents at the given facility, and give program management a mechanism to determine risks that are unacceptable. This scheme can aid program management in allocating recourses to mitigate facility biorisks; or to assess current biorisk program management effectiveness.


Copyright 2007/2009 Sandia Corporation. Under the terms of Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000, there is a non-exclusive license for use of this work by or on behalf of the U.S. Government. Export of this program may require a license from the United States Government.

This site contains links to the software, the documentation and the methodology papers

  • BioRAM Introduction White Paper
  • Biosafety Risk Assessment Report
  • Biorisk Framework Report
  • BioRAM (Biosafety and Biosecurity) Software: (We will provide you a link to download the software via email)

    • By filling out this form, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for the use of this software.

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    • This form is for the training version of the bioRAM software as used by the WHO. Do not use this software tool for risk assessments, it is intended for training only. By filling out this form, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for the use of this software.

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