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Success of the workshop organized under the EurobioTox European program

A training seminar "on biological toxins and on site detection" on in situ detection of biological toxins for first responders and validation of forensic procedures was held at CEA Paris-Saclay from 3 to 5 March 2020.

Published on 31 March 2020

This event was organized by the Institute’s department SPI (Service de Pharmacologie et Immunoanalyse), one of the 13 members of the EuroBioTox consortium funded by the European Research and Innovation Program H2020. The aim of this consortium is to increase European capacity to detect biological toxins (ricin, abrin, botulinum toxins, staphylococcal enterotoxins and saxitoxin) in the event of a bioterrorist incident. The project has a strong scientific and technical focus on the development and validation of sensitive and reliable detection methods. In order to improve European expertise, these methods should be made available to end-users throughout Europe.

The workshop, held at the CEA Paris-Saclay centre, combined theoretical and practical aspects. Several lectures were on the agenda, including biological toxins and specific guidelines for their detection, threat analysis, sampling, detection procedures. During the workshop, concrete cases of malicious acts involving these toxins were discussed and addressed with the German Federal Police and the Robert Koch Institute, among others. On the practical side, demonstrations for first responders were performed "live". They were based on scenarios elaborated and implemented by a team of first responders from the centre's local security team (FLS – Force Locale de Sécurité). The preparation of this session allowed the FLS to gain expertise in the collection and analysis of CBRN risk samples, and could serve as a basis for internal and external training of other first responders. For this demonstration, the FLS team designed a mobile table for handling in contaminated areas, which was of great interest to first responders from other countries.

 Two Czech first responders came with their mobile laboratory (equipped vehicle), allowing the other participants to evaluate the contribution of this type of vehicle during field interventions. A session was also devoted to the presentation by European manufacturers of equipment and tools marketed for the detection of biological agents in the field.

The workshop allowed numerous exchanges between the different participants, to facilitate interaction between trainers of first responders, commercial partners and scientists and to ensure that the right sampling and analysis strategies are easily transferred to the end-users concerned.

The SPI: a unique know-how in biohazard detection

In this ambitious project, the SPI plays an important role in the characterization and supply of standards (toxins and antibodies) and high-performance analytical methods. The SPI is also actively involved in the training of laboratories in good practices and methods of toxin detection, as well as in the training of teams of first responders who are then responsible for passing on their knowledge in their own countries. In recent years, the SPI has developed many skills in the field of biological risk detection as part of the CEA's interministerial NRBC-E (Nuclear, Radiological, Biological, Chemical and Explosive) R&D programme. These skills, which were well recognised at the national level, are now also recognised at the European level thanks to EuroBioTox.

The workshop in brief :

  • Number of participants: 21
  • Countries: Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, France
  • Participant profiles: firemen, policemen, constables

Images copyright: (c) CEA

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