AUDA-NEPAD , in partnership with the Burkina Faso Agence Nationale de Biosécurité (ANB), provided training and technical assistance to Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) members on the review and decision making processes for the application submitted for investigational use of genetically modified mosquitoes , from 25 – 28 August, 2020 in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
Participants were IBC members from the national research center and especially from the Institut de Recherches en Science de la Santé (IRSS) which is currently testing the use of genetically modified mosquitoes in the country with the aim to improve malaria control strategies. In June 2020, the chairperson of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CNRST) officially constituted the IBC, based on requirements from the National Biosafety Competent Authority in application of the international agreement of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) and the national legislation. To increase their competency to serve in this committee, the newly constituted members needed hand-on training on biosafety fundamentals, as well as technical assistance to review an application submitted to them by the IRSS vector control research team.
Dr Moussa Savadogo, Coordinator of the technical node of the AUDA-NEPAD Center of Excellence for Food and Rural Resources in Ouagadougou led the AUDA-NEPAD team to this important event.
During the workshop, Dr Moussa Savadogo and Dr Olalekan Akinbo, ABNE Senior Programme Officer delivered presentations on key topics relating to Gene Drive biosafety aspects, including responsibilities and functions of IBC members, risk assessment principles and methodology, dossier evaluation case study etc. The meeting was also an opportunity for the IBC members to discuss the progress made so far on the Gene Drive research in the country, and the upcoming planned activities.
At the end of the programme, Prof. Alkassoum Maiga, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation paid a courtesy visit to the team. He expressed his highest appreciation on the outcomes achieved and his gratitude to AUDA-NEPAD for the constant support provided to the country in general and his Department in particular.