Scientific research, with all its perks, has brought concerns of being mishandled. The safety of the environment, people, and the personnel involved is of prime importance. Biosafety has emerged as a separate discipline for addressing such concerns. It is formally defined as the safe handling and containment of infectious microorganisms and hazardous biological materials. Biosafety is related to several fields:
- In ecology, it refers to regulate the imported life forms from beyond borders,
- In agriculture, it refers to reducing the risk of alien viral or transgenicgenes and reducing the risk of food bacterial contamination
- In medicine, it refers to regulating research on cells, tissues, and organs from biological origin, or genetic therapy products, viruses; levels of lab containmentprotocols which are measured as 1, 2, and 3 in rising order of danger.
- In chemistry, it refers to the regulation of the risk associated with handling chemicals and their release in the environment.
Pakistan is doing having a considerable contribution in the field of scientific research beating the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) in terms of highly cited scientific research articles. However, unfortunately, there is an infinitesimal awareness among researchers and students of the country about biosafety and dual-use research. There is a dire need to train and aware researchers of the concepts of biosafety. Such training workshops and awareness seminars should be conducted in different Universities and research organizations. These sessions aim to acquaint the people working in with such chemicals, toxins, pathogens, cells and genes with the risks associated with them. Then a very important area that is dual-use research is considered, which means those areas of research which has the potential to be exploited and used for nefarious purposes.
To this end, a one-day workshop titled “Biosafety and Biosecurity for scientists” was organized by the Department of Biotechnology, University of Malakand (UOM) in collaboration with the National Academy of young scientists (NAYS). The focal person of the event Dr. Muhammad Aasim, Assistant Professor, with the help of organizing secretary, Mr. Tariq Khan, Lecturer, Department of Biotechnology, UOM arranged the event in consultation with correspondents Tabinda Salman, NAYS. The workshop, which took place in the seminar room; Faculty of Education, UOM was funded by Health security partners (USA). This one-day training workshop was organized to acquaint the faculty members and senior Ph.D. scholars working biological and chemical sciences Departments of the University. Speaker and trainer Mr. Sheikh Saqib Rafiq, introduced Biosafety, levels of contaminants, and risk assessment procedure to the audiences. Shaikh Saqib, a graduate of Cambridge University and Certified Biosafety professional from the National University of Singapore, talked about the different levels of biosafety and precautionary measures. The training session also included practical demonstration and hand on training on Biosafety measure in the laboratory during the experiment. In the opening ceremony prof Dr. Mir Azam Khan, Dean Faculty of Biological Sciences UOM. Welcomed the guests and highlighted the need for awareness of biosafety among biological sciences researchers. The chief guest, VC UOM, Dr. Gul Zaman khan called for strict measures for the regulation of risk associated with biological and chemical sciences. The VC distributed certificates and shield among organizers and participants of the workshop. The workshop was concluded with a vote of thanks to the participants and organizers by Dr. Alam Zeb, Chairman Department of Biotechnology.