In December 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed that WHO plans to create a new collection of viruses and other biological samples related to diseases outbreaks.
According to Dr. Tedros, the so-called “biobank” initiative is supported by Switzerland, which has offered a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory located in Geneva to physically host the collection.
Below is an article by Edward Hammond that raises questions and concerns over this proposal that appears to be developed by a group of WHO staff, with far-reaching implications for the sovereign right of countries over their biological resources including microorganisms, and the obligation to ensure fair and equitable benefit sharing from the use of such resources. These obligations are in the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing to which the majority of WHO Member States are Parties.
The WHO Executive Board meeting on 18-26 January is scheduled to discuss the Nagoya Protocol and access and benefit sharing related to pathogens. This vital issue will then be taken to the World Health Assembly of ministers in May.
– Third World Network