#Article (Archive)

MRC The Gambia hosts B3Africa ethics and regulation seminar

Apr 13, 2016, 10:42 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The MRC Unit The Gambia (MRCG) on Monday 11 through 13 April 2016 hosted a three-day international seminar on ‘Bridging Biobanking and Biomedical Research across Europe and Africa’ (B3Africa) at Kairaba Hotel.

The broad objective of the workshop (taking place 11 - 13 April 2016) was to identify legal and ethical issues and define concepts for the regulatory framework to be applied within an Information Technology (IT) platform that will be developed for the project.

While the first two days will be dedicated to closed sessions within project partners, invitations have been extended to more participants for the third-day session on biobanking and ethics, the future landscape for European and African research.

The B3Africa Project objective is to create a collaboration framework that can bridge European and African research by harmonizing and standardizing biobanking and bio-molecular research towards controlled bidirectional interchange of research data, bio-resources, and knowledge.

This will be done whilst taking consideration of ethnic, social and legal issues, to create a technical and intellectual platform that implements the policies and direction from the collaboration framework by integrating available open sources software, service and tools.

It will also serve public data base that can be used in African and European biobank and research institutions, as part of the objectives to provide a mechanism for systematically making available the most widely used open source bioinformatic application based on the experience of the ebiokit project.

The 3-day workshop attracted over 18 international participants from African and European institutions, including B3Africa projects partners.

There were also Gambia government officials, MRCG researchers, and Ethics committee members.

Given the important role that biobanks play in Biomedical and public health research, it is anticipated that the outcome of the workshop will contribute towards enhancing collaboration across Africa and European Researchers and institutions.

B3Africa is a European commission Horizon 2020 funded project with two strategic aims: to create a harmonized ethical and legal framework between European and African partner institutions and to provide an “out-of- the box” informatics solution that facilitates data management, processing, and sharing and can also be used under challenging networking conditions in Africa and Europe.

Partners of the B3Africa project are Sveriges lantbruksuniveritet, Sweden; Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Infrastructure Consortium, Austria; Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Center for Research Ethics and Bioethics at Uppsala University, Sweden; University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Makerere University, Uganda; Stellenbosch University, South Africa; International Agency for Research on Cancer, France; International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya; Medizinsche University, Australia; and Instituteof Human Virology, Nigeria.

In addition, selected members of the Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs Biobank) and Cohort Building Network (BCnet) Initiative will benefit from the Eb3Kit, such as Breast Care International, Ghana; National Cancer Institute, Lithuana; Wroclaw Research Centre ELT in Poland, and the MRC Unit The Gambia.