Biosafety and Biosecurity in Pakistan
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Biosafety and Biosecurity in Pakistan. Yusuf Zafar Chief Scientist/ Director General Biosciences Division Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). FAISALABAD. MAJOR BIOTECHNOLOGY CENTERS. JAMSHORO. Pakistan. 170 Million Population 70% depend on Agriculture. Literacy Rate: 54%

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Biosafety and Biosecurity in Pakistan

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Biosafety and Biosecurity in Pakistan

Yusuf Zafar

Chief Scientist/ Director GeneralBiosciences DivisionPakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)






170 Million Population

70% depend on Agriculture

Literacy Rate: 54%


Biotech Institutes: 29




Scope of Guidelines

Laboratory Work

Commercial Release of Regulated Materials

Field Work

i)Repeat the experiments made during laboratory work, and verify the results from tests performed at the laboratory level.

ii)Gather precise and accurate information/data on the stability, expression and hereditary transmission of trans genes under field conditions.

iii)Assess the viability (e.g. survival, propagation, competitive ability) of genetically manipulated organisms under field conditions.

iv)Assess the adaptive or evolutionary potential of genetically manipulated organisms under changing environmental conditions.

v)Asses the overall environmental impact.

Four Levels of Biosafety

1:Material not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adults.

2:Associated with human disease. Hazard is from percutaneous injury, ingestion, or mucous membrane exposure.

3:Indigenous or exotic agents with potential for aerosol transmission; disease may have serious or lethal consequences.

4:Dangerous/exotic agents which pose a high risk of life-threatening disease, aerosol-transmitted lab infections or related agents with unknown risk of transmission.

Establishment of National Core Group in Life Sciences (NCGLS)

Recognizing the importance of Life Sciences the Higher Education Commission established the Core Group in Life Sciences with six different disciplines. These include

  • Botany

  • Genetics

  • Microbiology

  • Biochemistry /Molecular Biology

  • Zoology

  • Bioinformatics

Aims And Objective

  • Promotion of teaching and research in Life Sciences in Pakistan.

  • Identification of areas in Life Sciences which have a direct and major impact on the economy and well being of the country.

  • Preparation of major projects in these areas.

  • Human resource development in Life Sciences in Pakistan.

Achievements of NCGLS

  • More than 3500teachers have been trained in various advanced biological techniques through 55 national and International workshops and conferences.

  • 4 Resource Centers have been established at various universities.

Life Sciences directoryhaving complete contact information of all life scientists in Pakistan has been published and distributed among the scientists.

Joining of NCGLS with International Council for the Life Science (ICLS) as Associate Member

ICLS meeting in Washington

  • Curriculum for Biosafety and Biosecurity

  • NCLS set-up a sub-committee to develop a curriculum

National Commission on Biotechnology

Establishment: 30th November 2001

Members: 15

Tasks and Future Initiatives:

  • Human Resource Development.

  • Strengthening research facilities in provinces.

  • Funding young researchers for projects of high priority.

  • Establishment of centre for Bioinformatics.

  • To strengthen Government-Private sector collaboration.

  • Publications, T.V. and Radio Programmes.

  • Encouraging research which increases export.


Pakistan National Policy and Action Plan 2003

National Commission on Biotechnology

International Biosafety working group recognized Pakistan Biological Safety Association

Dr. Terrence Taylor

President International Council for Life Sciences and Vice President of Global Health and Security in Washington DC

First International Seminar on Laboratory Biosafety Issues 21st March 2009

Asia conference on Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity

Bangkok, Thailand

April 17-19, 2007

National Training Seminar on Bio-safety and Bio-security Initiatives

June 18-19, 2007,Islamabad

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Established an inter-agency working group to develop

  • code of ethics and biosafety law

  • 20 Stakeholders took part in this meeting

  • Dr. Anwar Nasim elected convener of the Task Force

  • 9th June,2009

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Visit of 3-Member Delegaton of US Bio-security Engagement Programme (BEP)

22nd June 2009

Aga Khan University

Two Seminars on

Laboratory Biosafety

March 21, 2009

December 05, 2009

At Aga Khan University,Karachi, PAKISTAN

Biosafety and Biosecurity International Conference Healthier and more secure communities in MENA region 2009

Casablanca, MOROCCO

April 2-3, 2009

Bio-safety and Bio-security Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation Training Event for Pakistani Bio-scientists,

24 Pakistani scientists participated

Dubai, United Arab Emirates,12-14 January 2010

  • Pak-USA BEP Workshop-1

  • Cairo 3-6 May,2010

  • 12 Project proposals submitted

  • 27 participants from Pakistan

  • Pak-USA BEP Workshop-2

  • Istanbul, Turkey

  • 20-23 September,2010

  • 3 Projects approved for funding

  • BEP Approved Projects (03)

  • Raising awareness of dual use education and Biosecurity issues

  • Dr Sumi Paranjape US; Dr Zabta Khan QAU, Pak

  • Survey of clinical labs in Karachi

  • Dr Sumi Paranjape US; Dr Shamsul Arif, PBSA, Pak

  • Publication of biosafety manual in Urdu

  • Dr Sumi Paranjape US; Mr Iqbal Nabi Nadeem, Pak

  • PAK-US BEP Workshop-3

  • Istanbul, Turkey November,2010

  • Review 9 projects for funding

  • Organise future plans

Dual-use Dilemma

Dual-use dilemma arises that a piece of scientific research has the potential to be used for harm as well as for good

Dual-use project




Curriculum Developed for Master’s, Undergraduate & Graduate students of life sciences for biosafety & biosecurity

Two semester class on laboratory biosafety and biosecurity

First Semester

Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Fundamentals I

Second Semester

Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Fundamentals II

Third Semester

Special Topics in Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity

Quaid-e-Azam University

Course code: Mic-441

Principles of Biosafety

Course code: Mic-575

Biological Safety and Risk Management

Course code: Mic-442

Risk Management

Course Contents offered at NIBGE

Introduction to Biosafety

Introduction of laboratory safety, bio-safety procedures, use and disposal of bio-hazardous materials, regulator issues and established guidelines for safe practices

National University of Agricultural Sciences NARC/PARC

Bio-safety Environmental Aspects of Gene Technology

Overview of biotechnology and bio-safety issues concerns, international treaties/agreements in bio-safety, principles of risk assessment and risk management, factors affecting biodiversity…….

Department of Microbiology University of Karachi

Biosafety and Biosecurity

Lab risks and assessment, principle of biosafety and safe lab practices, spills and emergencies, risk groups and classification of infectious agents, infectious material, lab biosecurity levels P1,P2,P3 and P4, collection, packaging, transportation and disposal of infections material……

Pakistan Medical Research Council

National Bioethics Committee (NBC)

1.Research Ethics Committee

2.Medical Ethics Committee

NBC is an advisory body which deals with all aspects of bioethics in the health sector

Education and networking projects on dual use and biosecurity.

Giulio Mancini, ITALY

James Revill, University of BRADFORD

Anwar Nasim, PAKISTAN

Zabta Khan Shinwari, PAKISTAN

Khalid RiffiTemsamani, MOROCCO

Facing Global Challenges: Role for Champions


Anwar Nasim

Adviser Science, COMSTECH, Islamabad, PAKISTAN

Khalid RiffiTemsamani

President Moroccan Biosafety Association

Director Laboratory of Materials and Interfacial Systems

University AbdelmalekEssaadi, Tetouan, MOROCCO

Terence TaylorPresident

ICLS, Washington, USA


UNU, Tokyo, 1999

US-Pakistan Joint BS&S Working Group


1st Meeting:Developing national guidelines and plan for biorisk champions conference for key stakeholders

2nd Meeting:Meeting at biorisk champions conference

3rd Meeting:Finalize work on national guidelines


Objective:Provide awareness and leadership training for core group of experts (30) to build champions among in key stakeholders across the different ministries.

Thank you

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