Regulating Genetic Resources

Regulating Genetic Resources

Access and Benefit Sharing in International Law

Intellectual Property and the Environment series

Charles Lawson

This detailed and concise book surveys the international genetic resources laws applying in Antarctica, space, the oceans and seas, the lands, and the airspaces above land and water.

Chapter 7: Human pandemic influenza virus

Charles Lawson

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, intellectual property law, law and development


The World Health Organization (WHO) has a broad concern to address pandemic influenza preparedness. Under this broad remit the WHO’s International Health Regulations (2005) established a framework (from 15 June 2007) for preventing, controlling and responding to the international spread of diseases such as influenza. As part of detailing obligations ‘to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease’, there is also an obligation to deal with ‘biological substances’: States Parties shall, subject to national law and taking into account relevant international guidelines, facilitate the transport, entry, exit, processing and disposal of biological substances and diagnostic specimens, reagents and other diagnostic materials for verification and public health response purposes under these Regulations. In dealing with these ‘biological substances’ the WHO maintains the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (WHO GISRS) (formerly the Global Influenza Surveillance Network or WHO GISN), which comprises the WHO Collaborating Centres on Influenza (WHO CCs), WHO H5 Reference Laboratories, National Influenza Centres (NICs) and the Essential Regulatory Laboratories.

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