Science & Technology

WHO launches global facility for pathogen storage, sharing and analysis

The sharing of pathogens is currently done bilaterally between countries; WHO BioHub will expedite the process 

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 25 May 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Switzerland May 25, 2021 signed a Memorandum of Undersatnding (MoU) to launch a BioHub facility that will allow rapid sharing of pathogens between laboratories and partners to facilitate a better analysis and preparedness against them. 

The move is significant in the view of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the need to underline the importance of sharing pathogen information to assess risks and launch countermeasures.

The facility will help in safe reception, sequencing, storage and preparation of biological materials for distribution to other laboratories, so as to facilitate global preparedness against these pathogens.

Pathogens are now shared bilaterally between countries: A process that can be sluggish and deny the benefits to some.


The BioHub, according to the WHO press release, will enable member states to share biological materials with and via the BioHub under pre-agreed conditions, including biosafety, biosecurity, and other applicable regulations. This will ensure timeliness and predictability in response activities.

According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:

The BioHub System is an important step towards facilitating this flow of information. We thank the Swiss Government for its support in establishing the first BioHub Facility.

Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset underscored the importance of close international collaboration to ensure the timely sharing of epidemiological and clinical data as well as biological materials.

“Switzerland supports the WHO BioHub initiative in its initial phase by providing the necessary infrastructure of a Swiss biosafety laboratory in Spiez,” said Berset.

He added the move will help contribute to the establishment of an international exchange system for novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging pathogens.

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