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A first biosafety training workshop organised in Tunisia

Sfax, February 20-24, 2012

Xibios participated, together with other European experts, to the first biosafety workshop ever organised in Tunisia.  This workshop, which took place at the Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS), was attented by close to 50 scientists and laboratory workers active in the biotechnology sector in Tunisia. It was part of the BioProtech project aiming at increasing the capabilities of the Tunisian academic and private institutions in industrial biotechnology. This project is supported by the "International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology" (ICGEB) as part of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission (FP7).


Publication of two articles on biosecurity and dual use issues written by the Xibios partners 

London-Brussels, November-December, 2011

Ursula Jenal and Philippe Stroot, respectively associate partner and executive manager at Xibios, were invited to write two articles on the management of biosecurity from an institutional point of view, in preparation of the 7th Review Conference of the Biological Toxin and Weapon Convention (BTWC or BWC) to be held in December in Geneva. The first article, entitled "A new approach: contributing to BWC compliance via biosafety, biosecurité and biorisk management", was published in a special issue of the prestigious Non-Proliferation Review (NPR 18: 3, 545-555). The second one, "Developing biosecurity: addressing the dual-use problem from an institutional perspective", was published in an Egmont Paper, the review of the Royal Institute for International Relations (Egmont Paper 52:17-22).


Contribution to the First International Biosafety Conference in Pakistan

Karachi, November 18-19, 2011

Philippe Stroot, General Manager at Xibios, was invited to organise a workshop and give a lecture at the First International Biosafety Conference organised by the Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA). The workshop, organised in collaboration with Mrs Dorice Terik, Facility Manager at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, covered the project management and technical issues of the design and construction of biocontainment facilities, which appear as cornerstone for the building of biomedical research and diagostic capacity in Pakistan. The lecture was considering issues and perspectives in the development of effective and sustainable biosafety in laboratories with limited financial resources.


Seminar "The Biological Weapons Convention, biosecurity and the industry"

Brussels, June 20, 2011

The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organises together with the Belgian Biosafety Professionals (BBP) a seminar dedicated to the Biological Weapon Convention, biosecurity and the industry. The seminar will take place on June 20 at the prestigious Egmont Palace, in Brussels. It will gather international speakers as well as representatives of the governments and the industry. More information is available on the Ministry's website.


CEN Workshop on Biosafety Professional Competence

Frankfurt, December 17, 2009

The kick off meeting of the CEN Workshop on the Biosafety Professional Competence (WS 53) will take place in Frankfurt on December 17. This project, financed by the European Commission, is the outcome of workshops convened by the European BioSafety Association (EBSA). It aims at defining the role, tasks, competency and training curriculum for the biosafety professional. More information on the CEN website.


Belgian Biosafety Symposium on the "Design and construction of biocontainment laboratories"

Leuven, December 3, 2009

The third Belgian Biosafety Symposium, devoted to the design and construction of biocontainment laboratories, will take place in Leuven on December 3, 2009. More information and registration on the BBP website.


12th Annual Conference of the European BioSafety Association (EBSA)

Stockholm, Sweden, June 15-17, 2009

The 12th Annual Conference of the European BioSafety Associaton will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 15-17. Xibios will contribute actively to this event in providing two of the seven pre-conference workshops. Philippe Stroot, together with Mr Patrick De Graeve (IPS-Group, Belgium), will conduct a workshop on BSL3 containment principles and facility design, while Ursula Jenal, associate partner and executive manager of Jenal & Partners, will animate another one on the role and interactions of the biosafety professional, together with Dr Danielle Caucheteux (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) and Dr Martin Kuster (Novartis International). More information and the full conference programme are available on the EBSA website.


SBB report on high containment facilities in Belgium

Brussels, May, 2009

The Biosafety and Biotechnology Section (SBB) of the Belgian Public Health Scientific Institute (ISSP) has issued a report (in Dutch and French) describing the status of BSL3 facilities in Belgium since the first notifications in 1995.


Influenza A/H1N1: pandemic alert level raised to 6

Geneva, June 11, 2009

WHO has now decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6 on the basis of the most recent epidemiological data. More on the WHO Media Centre.


Influenza A/H1N1 virus biosafety guidelines for laboratory workers

Atlanta, US, April 29, 2009

CDC has provided a first biosafety guidance for laboratory workers who may be processing or performing diagnostic testing on clinical specimens from patients with suspected "swine influenza" A/H1N1 virus infection. Some of the measures proposed should be adapted to non-US regulations and practices.


WHO raises level of influenza pandemic alert to phase 5

Geneva, April 29, 2009

Following the outbreak of A/H1N1 influenza from Mexico, WHO has decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5, the last one before pandemic phase 6. One of the reasons of the decision is to urge on countries to activate their pandemic plans, another being to gather a maximum of resources in monitoring the epidemics and assessing the severity of the infection and its possible pandemic impact. More on the WHO Media Centre.


International Symposium on Biosecurity and Biosafety

Milano, Italy, March 25-27, 2009

Philippe Stroot, executive manager of Xibios, will present a lecture on the implementation of the new international biorisk management standard at the "International Symposium on Biosecurity and Biosafety - Future trends and solutions", in Milan. More information available through the EBSA website.


The safety of bionanoparticles

Krems, Austria, January 27, 2009

Ursula Jenal, partner at Xibios and Jenal & Partners Biosafety Consulting, contributed actively to the scientific programme of the International Congress on Nanotechnology in Medicine and Biology ("BioNanoMed 2009"), in Krems, Austria. She presented a lecture on the safety-related regulatory aspects of the production and application of bionanoparticles and participated to the panel discussion on the potential hazards of nanotechnology, introducing the Swiss Action Plan on Synthetic Nanoparticles.


Philippe Stroot registrated as consultant by the Walloon Region of Belgium

Namur, January 13, 2009

Philippe Stroot, biosafety expert and executive manager of Xibios, has been registred by the Walloon Region of Belgium as consultant in the fields of quality management, industrial development and environmental management.


EuroBio 2008

Paris, September 7-9, 2008

Xibios will be present at EuroBio 2008, in Paris, and participated to the BioPartnering event.
 

UN Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention Meeting of Experts 2008
Geneva, August 18-22, 2008

Ursula Jenal, Xibios partner, was representing the European BioSafety Association (EBSA) at the Biosafety & Biosecurity Workshop of the UN Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention (BTWC) Meeting of Experts 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. She gave a talk on the enhancement of knowledge and understanding of biological safety and security throughout Europe and the world.


Joint Action in support of the Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention

Rome, April 17-18, 2008

The Joint Action in support of the Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention (BTWC) is a European Council initiative for the practical application of the EU strategy against the proliferation of biological weapons. The Joint Action programme organises outreach workshops on biorisk management and provides assistance to selected countries to implement the principles of the Convention. A regional seminar for the Middle East was organised in Rome on April 17-18. Among other lectures presenting general or regional issues related to surveillance, detection and response to possible biological threats, Philippe Stroot, manager of Xibios, presented a talk on the regulatory and practical issues related to the control of possession and transfer of biological materials.


Xibios at the 11th Annual EBSA Conference

Firenze, April 2-4, 2008

The 11th Annual Conference of the was held in Firenze, Italy, from April 2 to 4. Philippe Stroot, manager of Xibios, was invited to provide a one-day pre-conference workshop on biorisk management systems and the implementation of the new international 'Laboratory biorisk management standard' CWA15793. Philippe Stroot also presented a lecture intitled 'Engineering for biosafety - Air changes and distribution', pointing out the poor relevance of air change requirements without a good aeraulic design. Copy of the presentation can be obtained upon request.


Publication of the new international biorisk management standard CWA 15793: 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The new international biorisk management standard has now been published. The standard was developed as a CEN workshop agreement (CWA). The workshop gathered a panel of internationally recognised biosafety and biosecurity experts under the under the auspices of the European BioSafety Association (EBSA), the European Biological Safety Association (ABSA), the Asia-Pacific Biosafety Association (APBA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The document, CWA 15793: 2008, can be downloaded freely on the CEN website.   Xibios, in association with Jenal & Partners Biosafety Consulting, is pleased to have contributed actively to this initiative.


New international biorisk management standard

Friday, November 30, 2007

A new international Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard has been adopted in Brussels on November 29. The standard is based on a management system approach and is compatible with other international standards such as ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment) and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety). It was developed by a panel of biosafety and biosecurity experts from different countries, among which Xibios representing of Jenal & Partners from Switzerland, with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA), the European BioSafety Association (EBSA) and the Asia-Pacific Biosafety Association (APBA). The new document should become available to public in January 2008.


BBP symposium on decontamination technologies (Leuven, December 11, 2007)

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Belgian Biosafety Professionals (BBP) organise a symposium on decontamination technologies. The event will take place in Leuven on December 11. For more information, see the annoucement flyer and BBP webpage.


Reports on the foot and mouth outbreak in the UK

Friday, September 14, 2007

Two investigation reports have been issued following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Surrey on 3 August. FMD is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of clove-hoofed animals (cattle, swine, sheep, deers…) that is not present naturally in the UK and the rest of Europe. The virus is classified as a hazard group 4 animal pathogen, requiring ABSL4 containment measures. Efforts to eradicate the outbreak have required severe control measures including the slaughtering of hundreds of cattle.

The first report concluded the investigation carried out by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The second one is an independent review conducted by Prof. B.G. Spratt of the Imperial College of London for the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). 

Both reports investigate potential breaches of biosafety at the Pirbright site, a site occupied by a government institute and two private companies involved in FMD vaccine development and production. Both reports conclude that the virus strain found in infected animals was highly likely to have originated from the Pirbright site. They point out a number of breaches in biosafety, mainly related to human movements and liquid waste disposal. Leaking waste water pipework was pointed out as the most likely source of release of the virus in the environment.

The two full reports can be viewed on the HSE and DEFRA websites, respectively.


Xibios at EuroBio 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Xibios will participate to the EuroBio 2007 business convention to be held in Lille, France, September 26-28.


New smallpox vaccine approved by the FDA

Friday, September 14, 2007

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new vaccine to protect against smallpox, a highly contagious disease that has been eradicated a few decades ago but has the potential to be used as a deadly bioterror weapon. The vaccine, ACAM 2000, is intended for the protection of individuals and populations during a bioterrorist attack. It was developed by Acambis under contracts with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To date, Acambis has supplied 200 million doses of ACAM 2000 to the CDC for the US Strategic National Stockpile, which was established to provide medicines to the American public in the event of a public health emergency. More on smallpox and smallpox vaccination can be found on the dedicated pages of the CDC and FDA websites.


The draft Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard now available for public consultation

Monday, July 30, 2007

The draft Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard (CEN/WS31) has been made available for public consultation on July 25. This standard is intended to becoming the international reference for the management of biological risk, in complement to existing regulations and the WHO guidelines. The draft and the form that needs to be used to transmit comments are available on the dedicated page of the CEN website. Comments have to be sent to CEN by September 25.


European Green Paper on bio-preparedness

Friday, July 20, 2007

On July 11, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on bio-preparedness. The aim of the document is to stimulate a debate and launch a process of consultation at European level on how to reduce biological risks, especially with respect to bio-terrorism, and to enhance preparedness and response capabilities. Response to the consultation should be sent to the European Commission by October 1, 2007.


Work suspension at a US biodefence lab

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on 30 Jun 2007, ordered a Texas biodefence research laboratory to stop all work on select agents and toxins following infection of one laboratory worker with Brucella and three other ones with Coxiella burnetii. Both biological agents, which are considered hazard group 3 under most regulations, are category B Select Agents in the US given their potential to be used as biological weapons. The CDC outlined concerns about biosafety plans, security issues, occupational safety protocols and compliance with some federal regulations. Read more…


Xibios participation to the Biorisk Management Standard initiative

Friday, June 1, 2007

In close collaboration with Jenal & Partners Biosafety Consulting, Xibios is taking an active participation in the Biorisk Management Standard initiative. The purpose of this project is to produce an internationally recognised biosafety and biosecurity standard to complement the WHO biosafety and biosecurity guidelines. Philippe Stroot, manager of Xibios, will represent both companies at the second working session, to be held in Boston on June 27-28.


Destruction of smallpox virus delayed again

Monday, May 21, 2007

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday 18 May 2007 that it is postponing until at least 2011 any decision on when to destroy the world's last known stockpiles of smallpox virus. A previous 2002 deadline for destroying virus stocks was delayed by WHO until new vaccines or treatments for smallpox were found, after the United States and Russia had said they would keep stocks on hand to combat any re-emergence of the disease. Smallpox virus was eradicated nearly 30 years go after a worldwide vaccination campain. There is currently no treatment for smallpox, that killed millions of people a year as recently as the 1960s and left many more blind and scarred, and there are fears that smallpox virus could be used as a bioterrorist threat. Laboratory manipulations with infective materials require high containment BSL4 facilities. They are authorised only at two WHO designated laboratories in the United States and the Russian Federation.


Towards an international standard in biosafety? 

Monday, April 2, 2007

While more biological laboratories are being built around the world, there is an increasing need for a common approach to designing biocontainment facilities and managing biological risks. An initiative coordinated by the European BioSafety Association (EBSA), the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is currently being set up to develop an international biosafety and biosecurity standard to complement the WHO biosafety and biosecurity guidelines. The project is primarily funded by the European Commission and administrated by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). The kick off meeting and first working session will take place in Brussels, Belgium, on April 12-13. More information can be found on the www.biorisk.eu website. 


The new "BMBL" available on line 

Friday, March 23, 2007

The 5th edition of the CDC's Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories ("BMBL") is available on line. This document has become the code of practice for biosafety in the US and may constitute a useful guidance for others. 


Xibios Biosafety Consulting launches its website

Friday, March 23, 2007

On March 22, Xibios Biosafety Consulting launched its new website. Besides giving basic information on the company and its activities, the site intends to provide selected biosafety and biosecurity-related news as well as number of links to useful documents.


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