UN, WHO Urged To Ensure ‘Benefit Sharing' Of Covid-Related Data

The Hindu Business Line|April 29, 2020

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UN, WHO Urged To Ensure ‘Benefit Sharing' Of Covid-Related Data
Biopharma firms should reach vaccines, medicines to poor nations at an affordable price, say civil society bodies
Pt Jyothi Datta

Close to 400 civil society organisations and individuals have written to the UN and the WHO, seeking fair and equitable “benefit sharing” of the SARS-CoV-2 digital sequence information and samples as recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol. The two organisations should “secure binding commitments from biopharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers for the rapid supply of existing and future medical products, especially diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to developing and least developed countries at an affordable price,” said the letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Fairness and equity

The CBD and its Nagoya Protocol are binding international instruments based on principles of fairness and equity, the letter said, linking it to “access to biological resources with fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of such resources.” The CBD has 196 parties and its Nagoya Protocol, 123 parties, legally committed to it.

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April 29, 2020