Virus-Sharing Draft Agreement Very Close; U.S. Yet To Formally Approve, Reuters Reports

A draft agreement that would ensure countries would share virus samples in exchange for access to affordable vaccines derived from such samples in the event of a pandemic is nearly complete, senior diplomats told Reuters on Thursday. “Consensus has been reached across all regions, including Indonesia which three years ago stopped sharing influenza samples with the World Health Organization (WHO), but the United States has yet to give formal approval, they said,” according to the news service.

“The U.S. delegation is checking with Washington overnight but the U.S. ambassador has recommended going along,” one ambassador said late Thursday. The WHO working group tasked with creating the draft had hoped to reach a deal by Friday, so that it could be on during next month’s World Health Assembly, scheduled for May 16-24.

“The working group’s draft document calls for having deals in place ahead of the next pandemic, including pre-purchase agreements with industry and governments to reserve a certain percentage of production capacity, for example 10 percent, earmarked for countries without access to vaccines,” according to Reuters (Nebehay, 5/15).