The Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology (IMB) has been training international partners in mobile diagnostics for several years. Beginning in 2017, the partners in Tunisia and the G5 Sahel region each received a mobile laboratory unit as part of the German government's Enable and Enhance Initiative. They were trained in the operation of the laboratory and the diagnostics of highly infectious samples. Mobile laboratory units were also handed over to the Uzbek Ministry of Health in 2019 as part of the EU's CBRN Centres of Excellence initiative.

To offer all partners a joint platform for exchanging experiences on mobile diagnostics, the IMB organised a symposium for laboratory experts from all partner institutes. Since the partner institute in Georgia will receive a mobile laboratory unit next year, also Georgian scientists were invited to the symposium. Scientists from the biosecurity project in Ukraine who were given an insight into the benefits of mobile diagnostic capacities.

The IMB Biosecurity (BioS) Symposium took place in Munich on 26 October 2023. To get to know each other and identify scientific interfaces, the participants first exchanged ideas in a round of "scientific speed dating". After the introduction, the work-intensive part of the symposium began: in small international groups of specialists with and without experience in mobile diagnostics, the capabilities of a mobile laboratory as well as the challenges in operating the lab were discussed. The groups summarised the outcome in a plenary session and emphasised the advantages of a mobile laboratory in disease outbreaks and for investigating bioforensic crime scenes. The experienced experts eagerly answered the numerous questions from the Georgian and Ukrainian scientists.

Whether mobile or stationary diagnostics - all participants emphasised, that they all improved their skills in the projects of the German Biosecurity Programme: from using modern detection and diagnostic procedures and working in accordance with international biosafety standards to soft skills like teamwork and team leadership.


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