Biological Specimen Repository for Outbreak Response: Biobanking Networks

Date: Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Congress Hall

Session Overview:
Access to collections of well-characterized biological specimens linked to phenotypic and environmental information, is key to the development and evaluation of quality diagnostics and to conduct meaningful research on the cause of communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, such access and data are currently not so common in Africa. For instance, many opportunities for studying pathogenicity, immunogenicity and transmissibility of the Ebola virus to inform improved diagnostics and disease prevention and treatment, have been lost during and immediately after the epidemic in 2015, due to the lack of procedures and systems to collect and manage biological specimen at national, regional and international level.

Several initiatives for bio-banking are ongoing on the continent with various challenges concerning governance, ethical-regulatory and technical aspects. In Africa, projects such as H3Africa and B3Africa have resulted in new and promising advances in bio-banking infrastructure and the creation of bio-banking networks.

This session will present examples highlighting successes and challenges in implementing bio-banks in Africa and key issues around regulation, governance, and sustainability will be discussed.

How can Africa ensure sustainable bio-banks that serve the continent and address issues such as ownership and access? What governance frameworks are needed that include privacy and confidentiality requirements and ensure principles of fairness and equity between high and low-income countries? What are best practices for sharing specimens that will provide immediate access of well-characterized specimens?

  • Co-Convener:
    • Debrah Boeras
      • The Global Health Impact Group, United States