Prof. Akin ABAYOMI – Additional considerations when biobanking during public health crises- what the Ebola outbreak taught us

Biobanking in the spotlight ‐ International collaborations in Africa

Europe Biobank Week, 13-16 September 2016

Prof. Akin Abayomi – Additional considerations when biobanking during public health crises- what the Ebola outbreak taught us

The H3Africa and B3Africa Initiatives were launched with funding for several research projects, bioinformatics networks, the development of central biorepository networks and the necessary legal and ethical frameworks across the continent. Some of the obstacles that make development of centralized biobanks and harmonizing research across Africa and its international partners an uphill task include governance, sustainability, logistics of sample transportation across borders and national uptake and ownership.
H3Africa and B3Africa working groups were established to develop and implement indigenous governance structures for ethics, data and sample security, bioinformatics, advocacy and African genomic diversity. Other key considerations are sustainability, Open Source LIMS, Room Temperature Storage, Cell line creation including iPSC, Quality Management systems and Biosecurity. The Ebola outbreak, and the challenges harnessing prompt international response, make it imperative for the African continent to develop capacity to respond to its health and environmental crises. Strengthening biosafety containment in the region is a major challenge.
The success of projects like H3Africa and B3Africa depend on the willingness of the community to participate in the research, as well as the implementation of good governance structures to facilitate appropriate community engagement (CE), to guarantee the protection of the participants and to shape governance policy. CE is of particular importance in biosecurity, human genomic research and dual-use science. Biomedical research ethics must address the interests of individual volunteers and communities in view of the extended consequences of genomic research and our increasing ability to manipulate genetic organisms and demarcate the genetic variations of health risks.

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