A Symposium was organised from 10 to 12 September 2019 to promote Institutional Oversight Mechanisms to Address Biosecurity Threats from Emerging Technologies.
The Symposium was officiated by Dr Karminder Singh Dhillon, Deputy Secretary General (Management) Ministry of Defence Malaysia.
The three-day Symposium was held at Le Meridien Hotel, Putrajaya. Its objectives are as follows:
Bolster awareness of emerging technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing systems, their benefits to the bioeconomy and research biorisks posed by these technologies;
Promote increased vigilance by the scientific community to prevent misuse and accidents;
Share best practices for institutional oversight to identify and mitigate research biorisks arising from the use of emerging technologies;
Develop recommendations for the establishment and use of institutional oversight mechanisms for research biorisks in the Malaysian context; and
Publish a symposium report to raise awareness across the research and policy communities in Malaysia and across the region.
Chief Executive Officer of ASM, Puan Hazami Habib presented the closing remarks during the Symposium. In her speech, Puan Hazami illustrated the importance for nations to consider establishing effective biosecurity and biosafety guidelines, which is adhered to internationally to reduce the threat of bioterrorism.
She also expressed her hopes that the Symposium has created awareness and increased the capacity of laboratory biosecurity measures through responsible conduct and responsible science, which aligns with ASM’s standpoint.
Also present during the Symposium’s Closing Ceremony were Dr Hajah Zalini Yunus, Senior Director (Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention Nucleus) of STRIDE and Associate Professor Dr Venugopal Balakrishnan, Vice President of MBBA. Dr Prasad Kuduvalli, Director of Scientific Programs from HSP was also present during the ceremony.
The Symposium is an international collaboration between the Science Technology Research Institute for Defence (STRIDE) and Health Security Partners (HSP) from USA. ASM and the Malaysia Biosafety and Biosecurity Association (MBBA) served as the collaborators. The Symposium was sponsored by the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) of USA.
The Symposium featured panellists from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Singapore, Philippine, Indonesia and Malaysia, and is attended by participants from private and public higher learning institutions and research institutes.