REVIEW PAPER - Building Biosecurity Capacity in Africa to Respond to Biological Threats

Akin Abayomi, Babatunde A. Saka

Abstract

The recent Ebola outbreak in West African is reported to have started in December 2013 in Guinea from where it spread to the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal (Abayomi et al., 2016). Consequently, this attracted a great attention from all quarters such as humanitarian NGOs, local and international health organisations, governmental agencies, research and development facilities as well as pharmaceutical companies.

During the outbreak, a large number of patients were screened for the Ebola Virus (EBOV) with thousands of biomedical samples generated over a short period of time and in rapid succession. These samples were sent to laboratories including mobile laboratories hastily formed to manage the situation due to the absence of infrastructure to deal with such instance in West Africa. A good number of these samples were destroyed, exported out of the country of origin with the government’s consent and documentation and in other cases without such consent while the remaining samples were stored in facilities without adequate biosafety or biosecurity (Abayomi et al., 2016).

Ebola virus along with other pathogens of high consequence requires specialized facilities such as Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) and Biosafety Level 4 (BSL4) to handle during research and identification for surveillance. Similarly, facilities of such high infrastructure and security are needed to store and secure such samples and their products.

Keywords

Biosecurity, Biological, threats, Africa

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References

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