The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Implementation Support Unit (ISU) facilitates the implementation of the EU European Union (European Union) Council Union Council Decision 2019/97 in support of the BWC. One of the project pillars aims at strengthening the capacity of four selected BWC States Parties through so called “National Preparedness Programmes” (NPP) to prevent and respond to attacks involving biological agents. The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka requested assistance on the implementation of a national inventory of dangerous pathogens and support regarding biosecurity and dual-use risk assessments and awareness raisin activities.
Goal of the project
This project aimed to establish a National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens (NIDP) in Sri Lanka, including training activities to increase awareness among stakeholders on biosecurity and dual-use related risks. A national inventory also helps to prevent deliberate misuse of dangerous pathogens. In addition, the data can be used as the basis of establishing appropriate biosecurity assessment and monitoring systems.
Who were involved
- United Nations, Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Implementation Support Unit (ISU)
- European Union
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands
An outline on how to implement a national inventory of dangerous pathogens has been described in an article: Vennis et al. (2021) Systematic approach towards establishing a National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens, Global Health Action, 14:1, 1971866.
RIVM developed a software tool, which is a secure, centralised electronic database intended to store information collected from those institutes that handle and store dangerous pathogens. This secure software is available on request to allow countries to create and manage a national inventory.
- A first online workshop was organised in April or May 2022. Two in-person trainings were held in Thailand and in Sri Lanka to raise awareness among national stakeholders. The workshops addressed the following topics:
- Establishment of a NIDP, including official transfer of the software tool and guidance documents
- Biosecurity and dual-use risk management
- Dual-use risk assessment for laboratories
- Biosecurity awareness raising activities
- Gap analysis tools for institutes and laboratories
- Laboratory auditing & inspection
- The final implementation workshop was held in Sri Lanka on 17 and 18 November 2022.
A software tool for a national inventory of dangerous pathogens had already been implemented in Uganda by RIVM, but national-level differences required feedback and adjustment of the tool to ensure buy-in and effective deployment of solutions. The RIVM team developed an open access methodology, including a software tool, for the selected countries to set up a national inventory of dangerous pathogens according to best practices.
RIVM staff members from the Laboratory for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology and the Biosecurity Office were involved.