Geneva, 7 February, 2020: IFPMA welcomes the holistic approach of WHO to influenza preparedness, as well as the call for suggestions for further sensitizing Member States to the importance of timely influenza virus sharing, and for ways to promote influenza prevention and control strategies, including through the use of seasonal vaccination.
We are concerned that seasonal influenza virus sharing is already being negatively impacted by national implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. The actions underscored in OP 1(a) will help realize the extent of this issue.
Timely, predictable sharing of pathogens and gene sequence information is essential for combatting epidemics and pandemics. This is required to ensure vaccines and medicines are developed, and be rapidly manufactured and supplied.
For the newly-identified coronavirus, a consortium of researchers released its gene sequence into GISAID, allowing for work to quickly start around to world to develop diagnostics and medical countermeasures. Had an exception for access to the coronavirus gene sequences not been made, with PIC and MAT having to be negotiated, it is unclear how long it would take scientists to start working on this new virus.
IFPMA urges Member-States to address the urgency of ensuring the quick and predictable sharing for the sake of global public health.