The Nagoya Protocol shouldn’t shield pathogen hoarding – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-11-28 06:00:13 –

NSIn his week, health authorities around the world will discuss plans for a global treaty on anti-pandemic measures in Geneva. This is an essential endeavor, as the world is struggling to find a way out of the current pandemic and there is a race against time to vaccinate everyone in need.

this Special session The World Health Assembly will be an opportunity to share lessons from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and lay the foundation for how to tackle the next outbreak.

Finding a vaccine equity solution is an important consideration for Congress, but it draws lessons on how innovation has led to the delivery of safe and effective vaccines at record speeds. Is also important. Innovation is closely tied to pandemic preparedness, and the role of sharing pathogens to support this innovation is a major billable topic.


For global public health, researchers need to be able to share information about dangerous viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens across national borders from the moment an outbreak is detected. When researchers refrain from or delay the sharing of pathogens, the severity of the outbreak increases.

How to think Quick sharing of information Affecting the course of the Covid-19 pandemic: Only two days after Chinese researchers identified the new coronavirus as the cause of the disease, they Post gene sequence Migrating SARS-CoV-2 to a public database.


A few weeks later, several biopharmaceutical companies identified the first vaccine candidates. And less than a year after the discovery of the new coronavirus, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the United States. 23 vaccines It is approved for use worldwide and more than 100 other products are in clinical development. This is all possible because scientists quickly shared information about the new coronavirus and subsequent variants.

If scientists withheld information about the virus and its mutations, efforts to develop and deploy vaccines and treatments, and to track the spread of the virus, would recede for months or even years. Would have been. The death toll of Covid-19 is immeasurable, and the world may still be under a near-constant blockade.

In the context of future pandemic measures, pathogens and their information sharing may be delayed, set by a group of seven countries supported by the life sciences industry to develop vaccines, diagnoses, and treatments. It goes against the wishes made. Within 100 days..

Sadly, the scenario in which countries in the world that could cause a pandemic could store harmful pathogens and use them as a trump card for negotiations is not fiction. actually, Under a particular interpretation Of the commonly known international agreements Nagoya Protocol, Countries can choose to keep pathogen data and samples for themselves. This potential scenario, and the need for prompt sharing of information, is being considered as part of the World Health Assembly’s discussion on pandemic countermeasures.

Nagoya Protocol Convention on Biological Diversity.. Its stated purpose is to enable countries to protect biodiversity and share all the benefits of the use of “genetic resources”, such as plants, fungi, or various forms of wildlife. It’s a commendable goal.

However Some countries Interpreting the Nagoya Protocol as extending to pathogens, it has enacted policies that prevent the sharing of pathogen samples or data on pathogens, even if doing so would save lives.

During the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which began in 2012, Saudi Arabia Refused to share virus samples with researchers. NS Similar instances Withholding of pathogens occurred after the outbreak of Ebola began in West Africa near the end of 2013. In each of these cases, the scientific community’s ability to contain the outbreak, track the spread of the disease, and treat the patient was hampered.

These actions, apart from deep concern, are a terrible misunderstanding of the Nagoya Protocol. Pathogens do not belong to any country and do not deserve biodiversity protection or rewards. We shouldn’t try to maintain their biodiversity — the exact opposite.

Nor is it a “genetic resource” like seeds and animals. They are a public health threat and should be eradicated like land mines. It is ridiculous to create a situation in which a country is allowed to exercise sovereignty over substances that cause dangerous illnesses — especially if doing so puts lives at risk. However, with the failure to explicitly exempt pathogens, the Convention on Biological Diversity has made it possible for countries to do just that.

Given how some governments have chosen to interpret the Nagoya Protocol, it is fortunate that China did not claim sovereignty over SARS-CoV-2. It is crazy to accidentally leave such an important issue. In the event of another pandemic, some countries may claim “rights” to virus samples and keep other parts of the world in the dark.

The next conference in Geneva is a valuable opportunity for political leaders to send a clear message in the name of public health and global health safety. To that end, members of the World Health Assembly need to ensure that their strong commitment to pathogens and information sharing is part of the International Convention on Pandemic Countermeasures. These requirements require that data on dangerous viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms be published as soon as possible after a new pathogen is discovered, regardless of where the discovery occurred.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to emerge, infections cross national borders. That is why the Pandemic Countermeasures Convention is a very important tool for doing it right. We still have a lot to learn about how to respond to future pandemics, but one of the things we know is that our efforts to share pathogens and their information will make a big difference in the future. It must be accepted by all countries participating in the World Health Assembly.

All States that apply the principles of the Nagoya Protocol to human pathogens will reconsider their position, exempt pathogens from relevant legislation and bilateral rules of relevant negotiations, and promptly and predictably to pathogen samples and their information. Expect to promise to promote good access.

Thomas B. Cueni is the President of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Associations. The opinions expressed here are his own.

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