Levelling the playing field? Sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits
Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture, Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Journal of law and medicine
With the adoption of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, including its annexes, by the 64th World Health Assembly, this article investigates the disproportionate burden of risk and benefits between resource-poor countries in the developing South and resource-rich industrialised developed nations of the North in the World Health Organisation's Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) for accessing and sharing influenza viruses. It concludes that the countries of the South have a unique opportunity to level the playing field through providing timely and affordable access to life-saving vaccine and meaningful benefit-sharing that will deliver technology and economic development. Importantly, the article also demonstrates that SMTAs are not merely a redirection of existing resources from North to South but offer a solution to the ongoing shortage of pandemic influenza vaccine by enabling the South to access technology necessary for sustainable vaccine production and thus increasing global vaccine capacity.
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