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Ginkgo Bioworks Plans Biosecurity Alliance With Botswana

NEW YORK — Ginkgo Bioworks said on Tuesday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Botswana to develop and implement new biosecurity capabilities for the African nation.

Under the terms of the MOU, Ginkgo's Concentric by Ginkgo biosecurity and public health unit will work with the Botswana Ministry of Health to equip local public health institutions with biosecurity tools and training, as well as build the data infrastructure needed for automation, data analysis, bioinformatics capabilities, and other critical genomic sequencing technologies.

The partners also intend to roll out pathogen monitoring programs at strategic nodes such as ports of entry and animal agricultural settings, Ginkgo said.

Additional terms of the MOU were not disclosed.

"Biological threats will continue to emerge, whether through travel, zoonotic spillover, or other means, and they will continue to put a strain on healthcare institutions in our country and globally," Grace Muzila, permanent secretary in Botswana's Ministry of Health, said in a statement. "As a result, we need to put in place the tools that will enable us to detect and respond to these public health threats in future."

Earlier this year, Boston-based Ginkgo inked a similar MOU with the government of Rwanda.