Switzerland to Become First World Health Organization BioHub
One step in that direction was taken on the same day, when Berset and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the WHO and Switzerland by which the WHO took Switzerland up on its offer to provide space and knowledge for a global pathogen exchange. According to the MoU, Switzerland will make available its Biocontainment Laboratory in Spiez as WHO’s first BioHub.
Currently, most pathogen sharing is done bilaterally between countries and on an ad hoc basis, which can be slow and can leave some countries without access to the benefits and tools. The BioHub is set up to change this and to allow WHO member states to share biological materials with and via the facility, which will serve as a center for the safe receipt, sequencing, storage, and preparation of pathogens for distribution to other laboratories. The objective is to inform risk assessments and sustain global preparedness against pathogens, like the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which may cause an epidemic or even a pandemic.
The BioHub facility is part of WHO’s broader BioHub system for the use of biological materials, which is not limited to state laboratories but also open to other qualified entities such as manufacturers.
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