Global Influenza Initiative Celebrates 10 Years, Adds Former WHO Official 21/05/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As the annual World Health Assembly opened today, a global initiative for sharing influenza genetic data celebrated its tenth anniversary and announced new senior advisors for international affairs and biosecurity issues, one of which is Marie-Paule Kieny, former World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation. The Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) announced today the addition of Kieny and Bruce Ruscio, a former official at the United States Department of State, Department of Defense, and Novartis. The World Health Assembly (WHA) is taking place from 21-26 May. Kieny, who also currently serves as chair of the Board of the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation, will advise GISAID on international affairs, and Ruscio on data and biosecurity issues, according to a GISAID press release. The release said countries such as China, Indonesia, and Brazil will recognise the importance of GISAID at the WHA this week. GISAID includes over 8,000 scientists and some 1,000 institutions worldwide, said the release, as “GISAID’s unique, sharing mechanism allows public health officials, scientists and industry to determine how the viruses have mutated and what specific interventions are needed.” “For example, in 2013 when a new, lethal avian flu strain appeared in China, its authorities relied on GISAID to share genetic data of the virus, receiving accolades for its well-handled response to the outbreak,” it said. Cited in the release, Prof. Lawrence Gostin of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, said “The tenth anniversary of GISAID represents a landmark in global solidarity.” “A pandemic strain of influenza is perhaps the world’s greatest threat,” he said. “Everything GISAID stands for: virus sharing, cutting-edge research, open access and international cooperation to guarantee health security couldn’t be more important.” “In a world where global emerging disease threats demand effective sharing of information, GISAID has demonstrated what can be achieved by galvanizing the interests of public health officials, academia and industry to combat influenza,” Kieny was quoted as saying in the release. According to the release, GISAID’s inception came as a result of US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and a former senior studio executive at Time Warner, Peter Bogner, crossing paths at the 2006 World Economic Forum, and a plea from a top official at the US Centers for Disease Control. Image Credits: GISAID Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Global Influenza Initiative Celebrates 10 Years, Adds Former WHO Official" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.