The B3Africa Project Showcased at the Second Pathology Research and Development Congress (PathReD), South Africa, 22-24 June 2017

The South African National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), in association with the Federation of South African Societies of Pathology (FSASP), hosted the Second Pathology Research and Development Congress (PathReD) at the Emperors Palace Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 22–24 June 2017. The 2017 theme was “Driving Innovation and Laboratory Excellence”, and the programme included keynote presentations, satellite sessions, oral and poster presentations, exhibitions, and interactive workshops.

The congress brought together experts from across the full spectrum of diagnostic pathology and public health sciences, including pathologists, technologists, technicians, medical scientists, public health specialists, clinicians, and public health managers. Sessions on biobanking were an important part of the congress, and included keynote and plenary lectures by Professor Akin Abayomi and Dr Carmen Swanepoel (both B3Africa partners from South Africa), as well as a 2-hour biobanking workshop facilitated by the two of them.

Professor Abayomi’s keynote lecture, titled “Biorepositories and Biosecurity”, focused on biobanking and biosecurity in emerging infectious diseases, as well as on data sharing and protection. Dr Carmen Swanepoel gave a plenary lecture titled “International Genomic and Biobanking Initiatives in Africa”, focusing on initiatives such as B3Africa that have made great strides with regards to work on biobanking, data sharing and protection, and information management systems in Africa and Europe.

The biobanking workshop, titled “Biobanking Principles, Science and Practical Issues and Current Developments in Africa”, was interactive and informative. The topics of discussion included biobanking concepts; networks; scientific principles; and practical issues such as transportation logistics, disaster management plans, data/information security, ethical and regulatory issues, harmonization, and biosecurity in resource-limited settings.

The congress also included a presentation by Ms Mantombi Maseme titled “The Biobanking Complexity Matrix, Key Ethical and Governance Considerations for Emerging Biobanks”.

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