September 21, 2023

“Strengthening Biosecurity and Cyberbiosecurity Best Practices” Workshop - Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan

On 18, 19, 20 September 2023, a 3-day workshop was held on “Strengthening Biosecurity and Cyberbiosecurity Best Practices” in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan. The workshop was organized by Health Security Partners (HSP) in collaboration and support with the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC). The workshop was led by subject matter expert, Dr. Maria Espona. Presentations on supplemental topics were provided by Dr. Firuza Nasyrova, Farida Tishova, Akram Rahmatov, Tatiana Volkova, Silmon Mavlonnazarov, and Samariddin Baratov. Twenty-five academia, laboratory, medical, research, food specialist, and IT professionals from across the Republic of Tajikistan participated in the workshop. They participated in lectures, breakout group discussions and guideline development. Participants identified gaps and vulnerabilities in biosecurity, biosafety, and cybersecurity in their institutions. Based on these gaps, they recognized possible solutions. The solutions were scored based on their level of effort it would take to accomplish the task and the impact it would have once completed. This scoring activity was used as the basis for the know-your-customer and due diligence guideline development. Participants discussed the need for cybersecurity improvement, the need for curriculum development for trainings, and the need for further development of standard operating procedures (SOP). A virtual cyberbiosecurity session will be arranged with Dr. Mariam Elgabry, CEO and founder of Bronic Ltd, in the coming weeks. Participants who attended the workshop will have the opportunity to apply for challenge grants following the workshop. These grants will support participants in the implementation and improvement of biosafety, biosecurity, and cyberbiosecurity strategies at their respective institutions. Regional learning and sharing of experience from this workshop are encouraged to spark change in biosafety and biosecurity in Tajikistan. We would like to sincerely thank the participants for their active participation throughout the workshop. Their passionate discussions regarding the need for change in biosafety, biosecurity, and cybersecurity in their institutions were inspiring.