The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that countries urgently need a system for sharing medical samples and a central storage facility for pathogens, UN Health Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said on Friday in Geneva.
“We are proposing a new approach that would include a repository for materials housed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a secure Swiss facility,” the Head of the WHO said at the end of the agency’s annual meeting of member states.
The mechanism would help to speed up research of new medications and vaccines, he told the online conference.
A framework agreement is being drafted to govern how such materials would be shared with the WHO and with other institutions.
Governments would remain free to decide whether to take part, according to Ghebreyesus.
Switzerland has agreed to back the plan, and Italy and Thailand have already signalled that they will provide materials under this framework, he announced. (dpa/NAN)