What considerations do I need to make when shipping a biological substance?

Biological and Infectious Substances regulated for transportation include those identified as Infectious Substances-Category A, Biological Substances-Category B, Genetically modified organisms or micro-organisms. Exempt Human specimen and Exempt Animal specimen, although exempt per the regulations, require minimum packaging and markings when transported by air.

Infectious Substance (Division 6.2)

A material known or reasonably expected to contain a pathogen. A pathogen is a micro- organism (including bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites, fungi) or other agent, such as a proteinaceous infectious particle (prion) that can cause disease in humans or animals.

Infectious substance (Category A)

An infectious substance in a form capable of causing permanent disability or life threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs. An exposure occurs when an infectious substance is released outside of its protective packaging, resulting in physical contact with humans or animals.

Classification must be based on the known medical history or symptoms of the source patient or animal, endemic local conditions, or professional judgment concerning the individual circumstances of the source human or animal. Category A poses a higher degree of risk than Category B.

Biological substance (Category B)

An infectious substance not in a form generally capable of causing permanent or life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs. This includes Category B infectious substances transported for diagnostic or investigational purposes.

Note: The Proper Shipping Name (PSN) “Diagnostic Specimens” UN3373 is no longer acceptable by the US DOT and IATA. The new PSN is “Biological Substance, Category B” UN3373.

  • When shipping biological materials that require a Biological Use Authorization (BUA), you must be listed on a current campus BUA.
  • Additional permits may be required to ship materials out of state or out of the country. Please contact the BioSafety Team for additional information.