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International Community Should Strengthen Global Mechanism For Virus Sample Sharing

CNN: The decline in virus sample sharing is not just about China
Thomas J. Bollyky and David P. Fidler, fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…Urgent action is needed to rejuvenate the global mechanism designed to ensure the sharing of influenza samples and to support pandemic preparedness. … [The 2011 Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework] facilitates, but does not mandate, the sharing of influenza virus samples in exchange for countries sharing the benefits derived from research on those samples, such as vaccines. … The PIP Framework has not failed, but that system cannot succeed without transparency, accountability, and investment. The system must be resilient enough so that sharing does not spike during disease crises and taper off when other problems seem more pressing for governments. The United States, China, and other influential countries need to bolster WHO’s efforts to help poorer governments build capacities to participate in robust global sample sharing and reap the benefits of doing so. Even amid difficult relations on many issues, the U.S. and Chinese governments can turn their H7N9 quandary into a joint effort to steer global sample sharing away from decline and fragmentation and towards protecting communities all over the world from being, as a century ago, helpless when virulent influenza strikes again” (9/8).