Global Governance of Genomic Pathogen Surveillance - Opportunities and Challenges J
31 May 2022
International and academic governance initiatives over the past 20 years – including the 2008 introduction of the GISAID repository and the 2010 Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing of genomic samples – have gone a long way towards addressing ethical and technical concerns. [...] However, despite the solid successes and important role of the genomic-surveillance ecosystem in the overall pandemic response, the pandemic exposed persistent weaknesses in technological standards, global genomic-sequencing capacity and governance that the global community will need to address collectively. [...] The past two years have seen a wide range of stakeholders addressing this issue, introducing a proliferation of technological and governance initiatives to build on the successes of the Covid-19 genomic-surveillance effort and close the gaps that still exist. [...] The paper defines a process model that specifies the genomic-surveillance workflow and calls for leading institutions to take on a governance role to set and encourage the use of global standards at each stage of the process. [...] Finally, at this stage, it is important to strike a balance between experimentation and coordination – the many actors calling for standard setting is promising and given the important technological and governance steps (for example, the WHO’s hub and strategy), it is essential to coalesce around a global framework for action.