BBP Newsflash 2023 #1

Best wishes from the BBP steering team

May 2023 bring you plenty of happiness and fulfillment!
We hope that the coming year has many interesting things ahead.

Further in this newsletter

  • The BBP steering team ‘23-’24 says hi!

  • Save the date! BBP live meeting on commissioning & decommissioning of BSL2 facilities

  • Principles of Biosafety (11-15 September 2023)

  • Update on the notification procedure for environmental release of GMO’s

  • Cogem 2023 international symposium

  • Plant passports

  • Xylella fastidiosa

  • Biosecurity guidelines

  • Link to ‘extras’ of past BBP webinars

  • Virkon S

  • EBSA Greece & BBP get together

The BBP steering team ‘23-’24 says hi!

We are happy to have an enthusiastic Steering Team (ST) that guides BBP in its tasks.

Composition (from left to right): Liesbet De Graef (ITM, co-secretary), Elisabeth Heylen (KULeuven, President), Isabelle Magnoli (UCLouvain), Pascale Van Rooij (Perseus BV, secretary) and Evi Pockelé (ITM).


The BBP Steering team is supported by biosafety experts Karen van der Meulen (Perseus BV), Kathleen Anthonis (Mensura), Delphine Beeckman (BASF) and Mario Vaerewijck (Ghent University).

This year Margriet Ovaere (KULeuven) will join the BBP ST on a voluntary basis in order to get to know the ins-and outs of the BBP ST.

Save the date! BBP live meeting on commissioning & decommissioning of BSL2 facilities

During this live meeting on Tuesday June 20th, 2023 we will address the practicalities of commissioning & decommissioning. Focus will be on BSL2 facilities. Cherry on the cake is a visit of laboratories at ITM (Antwerp). Hope to meet you all in Antwerp!

Principles of Biosafety (11-15 September 2023)

This intensive 5-day course provides a comprehensive review of all essential elements of assessing and managing biological risks. Theoretical aspects will be combined with diverse topics focused on daily practice, including visits to laboratories and live action. The course is organised by the University of Antwerp and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) Antwerp, in collaboration with Ghent University, University of Namur, Free University of Brussels, Sciensano and Perseus BV. Also the BBP Steering team will be represented. Highly recommended!


Update on the notification procedure for environmental release of GMO’s

SBB (Sciensano) has recently published an update on the notification procedure for environmental release of GMO’s and the contact person of the federal competent authority.

For more information, see NEW | Belgian Biosafety Server and Notification procedure for submitting a notification for an environmental release in Belgium of a GMO for experimental purposes | Belgian Biosafety Server

Cogem 2023 international symposium

COGEM organises the international symposium ‘Viruses, Replicons and Vaccines: opportunities, risks and regulation’, an international symposium on advancements in viral research and applications of viruses for medical purposes, which will be held on Thursday, the 9th of March 2023 in Amsterdam.

The symposium is aimed at policy makers, members of scientific advisory bodies and scientists in the Netherlands and Europe. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required.

Plant passports

What to do when receiving a shipment without plant passport (PP) when there should have been one or with an incorrect PP? You must ask the provider asap to supply a correct PP or notify your FAVV/AFSCA local control unit. Only with a correct PP the consignment can be further shipped or sold.

Xylella fastidiosa

Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterium pathogenic to plants. Since there is no efficient treatment of the disease caused by X. fastidiosa it is currently classified as an EU priority quarantine pest (see directive (EU) 2019/1702).

FAVV/AFSCA recently notified that X. fastidiosa has been found on Rosemary plants sold in garden centers. All professional operators buying plants that are a known host for X. fastidiosa (for an overview see and that show symptoms of infection with X. fastidiosa, are obliged to take samples for analysis. For more information see:

Biosecurity guidelines

Recently 2 interesting documents raising awareness on biosecurity, dual use and misuse of biological material have been published:

Link to ‘extras’ of past BBP webinars

Did you know that you can find presentations and additional information of past BBP webinars on the BBP website? Log in on the BBP website and take a look under ‘Past BBP events’, select the event of choice and go to ‘materials’.

past events bbp

Also for the last BBP event ‘A deep dive into access benefit sharing and dual use’ additional info is available.

Virkon S

A pink dye is added to Virkon S. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, this serves a very practical purpose: it indicates whether the Virkon S solution is active. A Virkon S solution is designed to last for at least 1 to 2 weeks.

In its oxidized form it is pink but when the solution starts to lose its activity it reverts to its colourless reduced form. Virkon S solutions must always be replaced if the colour starts to fade.

Did you know that a Virkons S solution can lose its pinkish colour when mixed with buffered phosphate saline (PBS)?

In addition, over-exposure of a Virkon S solution to organic material or metal instruments can cause oxidising activity to be lost in a shorter time than 1-2 weeks and this is reflected by the pink colour of the solution being lost. At this point of course the solution must be discarded and replaced with fresh solution.

EBSA Greece & BBP get together

This year the EBSA conference will be kept in Athens (Greece). Check the EBSA website for more information on the preconference courses and the symposium programme.

By tradition a BBP get together will be organized. Hope to see you all!

+32 9 233 48 66 |
Kerkstraat 108 - 9050 Gentbrugge - Belgium

View online - Manage preferences or unsubscribe