Network Experiences from a Cross-Sector Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory Collaboration

The Swedish Forum for Biopreparedness Diagnostics (FBD) is a network that fosters collaboration among the 4 agencies with responsibility for the laboratory diagnostics of high-consequence pathogens, covering animal health and feed safety, food safety, public health and biodefense, and security. The aim of the network is to strengthen capabilities and capacities for diagnostics at the national biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories to improve Sweden's biopreparedness, in line with recommendations from the EU and WHO. Since forming in 2007, the FBD network has contributed to the harmonization of diagnostic methods, equipment, quality assurance protocols, and biosafety practices among the national BSL-3 laboratories. Lessons learned from the network include: (1) conducting joint projects with activities such as method development and validation, ring trials, exercises, and audits has helped to build trust and improve communication among participating agencies; (2) rotating the presidency of the network steering committee has fostered trust and commitment from all agencies involved; and (3) planning for the implementation of project outcomes is important to maintain gained competencies in the agencies over time. Contacts have now been established with national agencies of the other Nordic countries, with an aim to expanding the collaboration, broadening the network, finding synergies in new areas, strengthening the ability to share resources, and consolidating long-term financing in the context of harmonized European biopreparedness.

Thelaus, Johanna et al. “Network Experiences from a Cross-Sector Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory Collaboration: A Swedish Forum for Biopreparedness Diagnostics.” Health Security 15.4 (2017): 384–391.

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