Friday, 12 July 2019


All enthusiasts of biosafety, biosecurity and biorisk management are hereby informed of the upcoming conference of the Nigerian Biological Safety Association (NiBSA). Details are contained in the accompanying flyers. You are invited. Come with your colleagues and friends.
Date: 18th - 23rd November 2019
Venue: International Conference Centre Abuja.
You'll be glad you made it to the conference.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


1.   Order Edentata – Primitive, toothless, anteaters, armadillos & sloths 
2. Order Pholidota – characterized by horny scale covering their body. The horny scales are derived from fused bundles of hair. Only one genus – Manis
 3. Order Macroscelidea - commonly called elephant shrews. Entomophagous 
4.      Order Largomorpha. The rabbits & hares. They are all herbivores of wide distribution. 
5.      Order Rodentia are the gnawing mammals. [40% of all mammals, 1,591 species]. The important families including:
i.                    Family Sciuridae e.g. squirrels
ii.                  Family Muridae e.g. rats & mice
iii.                Family Castoridae e.g. beavers
iv.                Family Erethizontidae e.g. porcupines
v.                  Family Geomyidae (pocket gophers)
vi.                Family Crecetidae e.g. voles, lemmings etc.
6.      Order Insectivora: Mostly underground (e.g. Sorex Cincereus). They include shrews, hedgehogs & moles. They are believed in evolutionary term to be close to the monotremes.
7.      Order Carnivora: Thee dogs, wolves, cats, and bears as well as weasels. Carnivorous. The common families include:
8.      Order Pinnipedia: Marine mammals. Carnivores. Characteristically, their limbs are modified into flippers used for swimming. E.g the sea lions, walruses and seals.
9.      Order Scandentia: These are tree shrews. They are small mammals resembling squirrels.
10.      Order Dermoptera: Flying Lemur. Only one genus (Galeopithecus) with  just two species.
11.      Order Chiroptera: Bats. The only truly flying mammals. Fore-limbs modified into wings. There  are about 950 extant species.
12.        Order Cetacea: Fish-like mammals. Aquatic eg Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. No posterior limbs. Fore-limbs modified into flippers. No hair covering on their body except for restricted location such as the muzzle. Except for the mammary gland, there are no glands in the skin. They also lack pinnae.
13.        Order Sirenia: Sea cows and manatees. These are also aquatic mammals. They have large head but lack hind limbs. The fore limbs are modified into flippers.
14.        Order Proboscidea:  – the elephants. They are the largest land animals. Characteristically, the upper incisors are prolonged to form tusks while the molars are well developed. Only two species of elephants exists viz:
i.                    Elephas maximus – the Indian elephant having relatively small ears.
ii.                  Loxodonta africana – the African elephant having relatively large ears.
15.        Order Hyracoidea: this is the group of the hyraxes (Coneys). They are herbivorous and widely distributed in Syria and Africa. They resemble rabbits. They live in colonies.
16.        Order Tubulidentata: this is the Aardvark order. Only one species and its found only in Africa. It is a peculiar animal in that it has body like a pig. Its teeth are hollow.
THE UNGULATES: These are animals with hooves and teeth adapted for chewing. They are into two orders namely Perrisodactyla and Artiodactyla.
17.        Order Perrisodactyla: These are the odd-toed mammals with hooves. The toes are either one or three, but each has a cornified hoof. Eg the Zebras, Asses, Tapirs and Rhinoceros.
18.        Order Artiodactyla: these are the even-toed hoofed mammals. Most have two toes e.g. the hippopotamus while others have four toes. Animals in this order are grouped into three sub-orders
19.        Order Primates: The most highly developed mammals. Include include the lemurs, monkeys, apes, humans and others. Members of this group have five digits leaving flat nail on the forelimbs and hand limbs. Except humans, they all have their body covered with hair. Their forelimbs are mainly adapted for grasping. Characteristically, members of the order lack claws, scales, horns and hoofs.

Sunday, 19 February 2017




This seminar was a eye opener for many, well delivered and well received. The slides can be accessed at and here are further details (summarized) of the four Biosafety Levels.
Summary of Biosafety Levels
There are four generally recognized Biosafety Levels (BSL) .
BSL – 1
a.       For work with well-characterized agents not causing disease in healthy humans.
b.       The biological agents do not pose minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment.
c.       Precautions are limited relative to other levels.
d.      Laboratory personnel must wash their hands when entering and exiting the lab.
e.       Research with these agents may be performed on standard open laboratory benches without the use of special containment equipment.
f.       Eating and drinking are prohibited in laboratory areas.
g.      Potentially infectious material must be decontaminated before disposal, either by adding an appropriate disinfectant, or by packaging for decontamination elsewhere.
h.      No need for Personal protective equipment (PPE) except for circumstances where personnel might be exposed to hazardous material.
i.        The lab lab must have a door which can be locked to limit access to the lab.
j.        The lab does not have to be isolated from the general building.
k.      Suitable for work with non-pathogenic Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and other organisms not suspected to contribute to human disease.
l.        They are the types of labs used for teaching in high schools and colleges.
BSL – 2
Precautions include all those used at BSL 1 plus others as follows:
a.       Lab workers must have specific training in the handling of biological agents.
  1. Access to the laboratory is limited when work is being conducted.
  2. Extreme precautions are taken with contaminated sharps.
  3. Certain procedures in which infectious aerosols or splashes may be created are conducted in biological safety cabinets or other physical containment equipment.
  4. Suitable for work involving agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment. This includes various microbes that cause mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting. Examples include Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), pathogenic Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Plasmodium falciparum, and Toxoplasma gondii.

BSL – 3
For work involving microbes which can cause serious and potentially lethal disease via the inhalation route. The precautions in BSL-1 and BSL-2 labs are followed, but includes:  
a.       Lab workers have medical surveillance and are immunized against accidental or unnoticed infection.
  1. There must be Biological Safety Cabinet in which all work procedure must be done
  2. The lab worker must wear solid-front protective clothing (gowns that tie in the back).
  3. A lab-specific biosafety manual must be drawn and followed.
  4. The lab entrance must be separated from areas of the building with unrestricted traffic flow.
  5. The lab must be behind two sets of self-closing doors (to reduce the risk of aerosols escaping).
  6. The laboratory must be easy to clean.
  7. Carpets are not permitted, and any seams in the floors, walls, and ceilings are sealed.
  8. Windows must be sealed, and a ventilation system installed which forces air to flow from the "clean" areas of the lab to the other areas
  9. Biosafety level 3 is commonly used for research and diagnostic work involving various microorganisms that can be transmitted by aerosols and/or cause severe disease.
  10. Organisms handled at this level include Francisella tularensis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Chlamydia psittaci, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus, SARS coronavirus, Coxiella burnetii, Rift Valley fever virus, Rickettsia rickettsii, Brucella, chikungunya, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus.
BSL – 4
This is appropriate for work with agents that could easily be aerosol-transmitted within the laboratory and cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which there are no available vaccines or treatments. The lab is set up to be either cabinet laboratory or protective suit laboratory. The features include:
  1. It must be separated from areas that receive unrestricted traffic.
  2. Airflow is tightly controlled to ensure that air always flows from "clean" areas of the lab to areas where work with infectious agents is being performed.
  3. The entrance must have airlocks to minimize possibility of aerosols being removed from the lab.
  4. Lab wastes, including filtered air, water, are decontaminated before leaving the facility.
  5. The lab is used for diagnostic work and research on easily transmitted pathogens which can cause fatal disease.
  6. Organisms used in this level include viruses that are pathogens for viral hemorrhagic fever such as Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. Others include Hendra virus, Nipah virus, and some Flaviviruses. This level is also for work with Variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox.
Adapted from

Monday, 6 February 2017




This twin subject is quite important and fast gaining prominence for their respective and collective importance for health, agricultural, environmental and economic relevance. The World Health Organization (WHO), for instance has for long recognized that safety, particularly biological safety is of global and international importance. The global health institution published the Laboratory Biosafety Manual in 1983 (WHO, 2004). In November 2015, Abuja played host to Professors and high ranking Faculty members from various Universities in Nigeria drawn from all the country’s six geopolitical zones for one week on a Foundation Biorisk Management Workshop. The workshop was organized by the Nigeria Biosafety Association (NiBSA) with funding and Technical support from Sandia Laboratories, United States of America. As part of the workshop, participants were trained on drawing curriculum on both biosafety and biosecurity (combined as Biorisk) and introducing them in the curricula of universities in Nigeria. The conference closed on a high note as participants drew a communiqué that spelt out the resolve and actions to be taken in their respective universities back home. Among the participants were a contingent from Lagos State University (LASU) comprised of Abiodun Denloye, Vice President of NiBSA and Co-facilitator and both Dr. A. O. BolaOyefolu who was then the Acting Head of Microbiology Department and Professor Kabiru Olusegun Akinyemi then Dean of Students’ Affairs as participants). The report to the University Senate received applause and thorough considerations which led to proposal that Bisoafety and Biosecurity should be incorporated into GNS 301 (Logic and Science). Following presentation by Professor Clement Fasan, Chairman of Senate Curriculum Committee and exhaustive deliberation by members, the proposal later received approval of the Senate under the Chairmanship of Professor Lanre Fagbohun. LASU thus became the first university in Nigeria, and indeed Africa to take students in a course that is compulsory for all undergraduates in Biosafety and Biosecurity. This is the first session (2016/2017) that this course is being taught with Biosafety and Biosecurity as a major component. It is expected that the biomedical sciences, Microbiology, Botany, Zoology, Agricultural Science and other relevant courses will make these components part of some of their courses also at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
What is Biosafety?
Biosafety as a term is derived from a coinage from Biological Safety that is Bio + Safety. The “Bio” aspect connote its meaning for life. Biology itself is the study of living things. It includes the study of the various aspects of life including physiology, behavior, growth, irritability, movement, reproduction and so on about the life of organisms. Safety is described as keeping away from harm, hazard or harmlessness. Biosafety literally therefore means the keeping life harmless or keeping hazards away from living organisms.
Due to its implication for public health, agriculture and environment, the definition ascribed to Biosafety may be different depending on who is giving the definition. One of the most prominent definitions however is from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States of America (USA) which defines Biosafety as “the discipline addressing the safe handling and containment of infectious microorganisms and hazardous biological materials” (CDC 2010). This definition is from the background of health which may be public health, environmental health or from a veterinary angle. It would include different aspect of Zoonoses, the transmission of diseases borne by animals to humans including Rabies (bats and dogs), Ebola Virus Disease (bats and humans), Lassa Fever (from rats), Cryptosporidiosis (from cats) and so on. The common diseases such as Malaria fever, Dengue fever, Common cold also called Flu and Zika are also inclusive and there are many more. These diseases are vectored by pets, wild animals, insects and other such vehicles of transmission. Exposure to these animals and interactions with neighbours/colleagues already carrying the pathogens or the disease predispose humans to them. Your interaction with these sources of transmission goes a long way to ensuring the biosafety of the organisms. This interaction is what is referred to in the definition above as the “safe handling” in the definition above. This handling is carried out in teaching laboratories, research, and clinical diagnosis. The pathogens are the disease-causing agents or simply referred to as agents and they are the “infectious microorganisms” referred to in the definition. These organisms may be protozoans, bacteria, viruses or fungi etc.  The “hazardous biological materials” mentioned include infected body parts of animals, waste products from infected animals/humans or pathogen reservoirs, animal carcasses etc. The beginning of that definition refers to Biosafety as a “discipline”, showing that it is a standard practice or procedure or field of study or a combination of all. Really, biosafety is an emerging scientific discipline and field of study. Due to the clinical, diagnostic, research and general laboratory handling of pathogenic organisms a specialized field of laboratory biosafety is also evolving. Laboratory Biosafety is defined by the Global Biorisk Management Curriculum Library ( as “Containment principles, technologies, and practices implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins or their unintentional release”.

From a Broad environmental perspective, Biosafety is defined as “a concept that refers to the need to  protect human health and the environment from the possible adverse effects of the products of modern biotechnology” (Convention on Biological Diversity – CBD, 1992). The CBD is part of the agreement reached at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also called Earth Summit held in Rio De Janiero, Brazil in 1992. This definition emphasizes the protection of human health and the environment from the effects of the products of modern biotechnology especially involving recombinant DNA technology. This technology includes alterations made to genes, the determinants of hereditary characters in plants, animals and microorganisms. An expansion of this definition is given in the Cartagena Protocol (CP) to the CBD. From the CP it could be inferred through Article 2 that Biosafety refers to provision of adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account the risks to human health, and especially focusing on transboundary movements. Defining some terminologies is quite important here:
1. A LMO is any living organism having a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.
2. A Living organism is any biological entity that can transfer or replicate genetic material. These includes sterile organisms, viruses and viroids;
3. Modern biotechnology means the application of the following:
a. In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or
b. Fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family, that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.
From the foregoing the paramount thing about Biosafety is that it is concerned with the health of humans, animals and the sustainable use of biological resources of the environment. Thus Biosafety is about keeping humans, animals and other organisms free from harm and bequeathing a safe future for coming generations. 

My presentations on this subject can be found here
To be updated soon.