Workshop Series on Institutional Biosafety Committee – Islamabad – October 25 to 26 2022
Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA) in collaboration with Xibios Biorisk Consulting Belgium, CHROME Biorisk Consulting US, and Fogarty International Center (FIC) National Institutes of Health (NIH) US conducted a series of “Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)” workshops. These workshops were held in Karachi at Mövenpick Hotel on October 19th and 20th, in Lahore at Faletti Hotel on October 22nd and 23rd, and Islamabad at PBSA Training Center on October 25th and 26th.
Purpose of Workshop
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, USA, The IBC is responsible for reviewing projects that involve, but are not limited to, recombinant DNA, RNAi, pathogens, human materials and other potentially infectious material, as well as transgenic animals. The IBC provides recommendations to the intramural community in matters pertaining to the control of biohazards associated with the use of microbiological agents and their vectors. It also represents the interests of the surrounding community with respect to public health and protection of the environment.
The workshop brought together Pakistani institutions with experience running successful Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBC) and less experienced institutions with nascent/nonexistent and non-functional IBCs. The purpose of this workshop was creating and strengthening IBCs at the less-experienced institutions. Each workshop engaged six institutions, including two institutions with well-functioning IBCs and four that are seeking to create IBCs or which have nascent IBCs. At the workshops, the experienced institutions presented how they created their IBCs and the adaptations that they had to make along the way to ensure that it functions well. The institutions seeking to develop new IBCs described their objectives, existing resources, and the help they need. After the workshops concluded, over the course of six months, we will coordinate the institutions to work together to create tools and materials that will help to ensure that new IBCs are effective and resilient. After 6 months there will be three region-specific, one-day closeout meetings to review the materials and tools that were developed and reflect on lessons learned and best practices.
The following institutions participated in the Sindh Regional IBC Workshop.
- COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad Campus
- Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
- University of Agriculture, Dera Ismail Khan
- Khyber Medical University, Peshawar
- Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan
- University of Haripur
The management team of the workshop were as follows
- Shehroze Ameen, Project Coordinator, PBSA
- Muhammad Riaz, Admin Officer, PBSA
- Fariha Munir, Project Officer, PBSA
- Javed Muhammad, General Secretary, PBSA
- Tim Trevan, Co-Founder, CHROME Biorisk Consulting, US
- Philippe Stroot, Xibios Biorisk Consulting, Belgium
- Zeba Rasmussen, Consultant, FIC NIH-US
Dr. Javed Muhammad gave an opening address in which he shared the achievements of PBSA, the purpose of the organization, PBSA publications, and the number of trained participants and lifetime members, and the achievements made during his administration.
Dr. Aamer Ikram, Executive Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pakistan, gave an address on the second day, in which he appreciated the efforts of Pakistan towards spreading the message of biorisk management, and also of PBSA in being a part of this effort. He also appreciated how the participants actively participated in the workshop and had brought a culture of biosafety in their institutions. He concluded his address by motivating participants to be self-sufficient, and to do their part in establishing the culture of biosafety in their institutions.
Dr. Saeed Khan, President, Pakistan Biological Safety Association, gave his concluding thoughts about the workshop, and appreciated the efforts of the participants in their endeavors.
Dr. Zeba Rasmussen, Consultant, FIC NIH-US, gave her closing comments to conclude the workshop, appreciating the efforts of the participants, of PBSA in arranging the modalities and logistics of the workshop, and of the consultants Tim and Philippe for preparation of the materials, and for their constant engagements in Pakistan in helping institutions inculcate a culture of biosafety in the country.
Keeping in view the struggle of PBSA, 5 participants joined the cause as lifetime members.