September 10, 2021

HSP Concludes Biosecurity Champions Fellowship 2021

This month, HSP's Biosecurity Champions Fellowship virtual lecture series concluded in Pakistan. Facilitated by HSP's Technical Advisor Samreen Sarwar, the Biosecurity Champions Fellowship is a training program designed to build a network of life and medical science professionals poised to become biosecurity leaders in Pakistan. The Fellowship aims to increase the capacity of Pakistani scientists and academics in fields relevant to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). For the 2021 Fellowship, five fellows were selected from five provinces (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit and Balochistan) of Pakistan. 

The fellowship consisted of nine weekly modules, which covered topics ranging from the history of biological weapons and warfare to dual use research of concern and bridging institutional gaps between biosecurity and law enforcement agencies. Each module consisted of a two-hour session with pre-session reading assignments. To evaluate comprehension, participants took a quiz every three weeks on previously covered topics.

HSP will continue to work with the biosecurity fellows until December 2021. During this time, the fellows will each conduct at least one virtual session to spread knowledge gained during the fellowship to members of their respective institutions. Fellows will also distribute hard copies of Pakistan’s National Guidelines for Collection, Usage, Storage, and Export of Human Biological Materials to more than 200 institutes across Pakistan. These guidelines have been developed to provide investigators, researchers and institutional review committees with clear guidance regarding the use of human biological materials in research, particularly with regard to informed consent. 

This fellowship was the first biosecurity fellowship program ever held in Pakistan, and HSP hopes fellows will flourish as biosecurity champions both nationally and internationally.