National Biosafety Committee (NBC)
Uganda is a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol of Biosafety, this Protocol obliges member states to put in place administrative and legal frameworks to ensure safe use of modern biotechnology. The Uganda National Council for Science and Technology is the competent authority of biosafety under the Cartagena protocol. UNCST oversees and grants authorization for research and product development work involving genetically modified (GM) organisms. The UNCST established the National Biosafety Committee (NBC) as an independent Technical Committee under section 5 (e) of the UNCST Act (cap 209). It is one of the several bio-safety mechanisms that the government has put in place to facilitate the testing and development of potentially useful genetically engineered organisms. The NBC serves to protect individuals, the community, and the environment from potential risks of genetic engineering, while at the same time, facilitate the beneficial utilization of the technology. The Council has considered and approved more than 17 confined field experiments of genetically modified crop events following technical recommendations from the National Biosafety Committee (NBC). These crops include cotton, maize, cassava, banana, sweet potato, potato, soyabean and rice.
Medical biotechnology in health research efforts under the different institutions in Uganda include the production of medicines, hormones, vaccines, and other bio-engineered products such as the ALVAC-HIV vaccine, Covid 19 vaccines developments. At the fore front of this landmark research efforts are scientists from Makerere University, Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) and the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the Presidential Initiative on Epidemics.