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Wednesday February 21, 2024

KU, ABM ink MoU to institutionalise biorisk management practices across Pakistan

By Our Correspondent
February 13, 2024

The University of Karachi and the Association for Biorisk Management-Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding at the Conference Room of the KU, Dr A. Q. Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (KIBGE), to launch a collaborative effort for implementing the Pakistan Biorisk Management (PBMP) Programme to control zoonotic pathogens by introducing and strengthening biosafety and biosecurity practices in the biological laboratories of the university.

The University of Karachi can be seen in this image. — APP/File
The University of Karachi can be seen in this image. — APP/File

KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi and Executive Director ABM-Pakistan Dr Asghar Ali inked the MoU documents during a ceremony, which was attended by Programme Director and Health Security Partners Dr Javed Khan, President Pakistan Biological Safety Association Professor Dr Saeed Khan, KIBGE faculty, chairpersons of several departments of the University of Karachi.

As per the MoU, the KU and the ABM—a non-governmental organisation stationed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa— agreed to institutionalise biorisk management practices in priority labs across the country, said a statement issued by the varsity on Monday.

The programme aims to control zoonotic pathogens by introducing and strengthening biosafety and biosecurity practices in existing laboratories in AZK, KP, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. Under this programme, the ABM will work with laboratories within veterinary hospitals and medical facilities as well as research centers and universities that deal with pathogens and toxins.

According to the MoU, the ABM will provide regular technical support to the laboratory regarding biosafety and biosecurity, as well as furnish profiles, conduct biorisk assessment and reassess the relevant laboratories of the University of Karachi, and recommend BRM mitigation measures accordingly.

The ABM will also train the lab staff and field staff in biosafety and biosecurity and will provide complementary biosafety kits to the training participants, and strengthen the laboratory by providing critical SOPs, essential laboratory equipment, and reagents.

The KU will furnish a list of nominated participants as per ABM criteria for training, workshop, seminar, and meeting, and execute laboratory mitigation measures and BRM protocols to ensure biosafety and biosecurity.

Earlier, Dr Asghar Ali informed the audience that ABM-Pakistan is working vision of safe and secure handling of hazardous material and a zoonoses-free Pakistan and wants to develop biorisk management expertise to deliver innovative, sustainable solutions to the biorisk challenges in the country through awareness, and capacity building and strengthening.

Dr Javed Khan mentioned that this project is essential for biorisk management and safety in labs of Pakistan and hoped that the KU would further train the faculty members of other varsities.

VC Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi shared that the KU will lead and help other universities of Sindh regarding spreading the importance and benefits of biorisk management in labs. He observed that the KU faculty members will learn a lot from the experience of ABM-Pakistan and become active members of their country-wide platform.