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             Newsletter Jan - 2015

Collaboration with Frontline Healthcare and Worker Safety Foundation for online courses

Frontline Foundation is a not-for-profit company with a mission of conducting global biosafety and biosecurity training and research that leverages current technologies and which is affordable and accessible to all healthcare and life science practitioners. Susan Loubser, Director of Training at the Frontline Foundation contacted Dr. Richa Sood, Secretary, SBS to explore a possibility of collaboration for a project in which 6 IACET accredited online courses [Biorisk Management, Biohazardous Waste Management, Care and Use of Biosafety Cabinets; Dual Use Research of Concern; Biosecurity, and Facilities Design Operations and Management] could be provided to Indian nationals at no cost. In addition, the funding allowed Frontline to offer scholarships to students who passed at least 4 courses, to take an IFBA certification exam.

Over 200 professionals were approved to participate in the project and they came from all across India. (See participant map below)

The courses were available online and offline (on a phone or tablet) and participants could take the courses on their own time. This opportunity led to Frontline awarding almost 550 certificates for courses passed to Indian biosafety professionals. There were over 80 scholarships awarded to participants to take the IFBA certification exams. Not everyone has taken the exam yet, but so far we have more than 30 participants who have achieved IFBA certification in Biorisk Management, with some being additionally certified in Biosafety Cabinet Care and Use, and Biohazardous Waste Management. The collaboration provided large scale training across the country and has been a great success. We look forward to being able to provide more opportunities like this going forward.

 

Secretary SBS attends Asia Pacific Biosafety Conference

Dr Richa Sood, Secretary SBS attended the 14th Annual Asia Pacific Biorisk Conference highlighting Biosafety & Biosecurity For Sustainable Development in Health and Agriculture. It was held from the 17th - 20th September 2019, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her participation in the event was supported by scholarships provided by Frontline Healthcare Workers Safety Foundation (frontline Foundation) and the Biosecurity Engagement Program, USA.

The conference was a joint venture of the Asia Pacific Biosafety Association and the Bangladesh Biosafety and Biosecurity Association. There were participants from 8 countries from South East Asia and renowned speakers from various organization from the USA and the UK. Pre-conference workshops were held on the 17th and 18th of September and were followed by the conference proceedings on 19th and 20th. The conference addressed current biosafety and biosecurity issues of concern at the global, regional, national and local levels. Workshops were conducted and hands-on training on bio-threat management was given. International biosafety experts and professionals from around the world shared their knowledge and experiences handling different issues and discussed current hot topics including new innovative biotechnologies, and dual use research. There were many opportunities to learn more about Biosafety; Biosecurity, and the latest updates on Biorisk Management best practices. The adoption of and compliance with comprehensive international frameworks that advance biological non-proliferation objectives were deliberated giving insight to the status of worldwide handling of high-risk pathogens.

Law enforcement representatives, policy makers and military personnel were included in the conference and this engagement with non-scientific interlocutors is a positive step which leads directly to improvement of biorisk management in Southeast Asian nations.

The conference gave insights into the state of disease monitoring, prevention and treatment being carried out in Bangladesh. This conference was a great opportunity for networking and led to India being included as a core group member of the APBA executive council.

Overall the conference was a great learning experiences highlighting biorisk management best practices.