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Anti-Biopiracy Protocol Could Impact Vaccine Production, Industry Experts Say

by Dhruv Tikekar

Vaccine manufacturers have warned that the Nagoya Protocol could hinder the production of seasonal influenza vaccines, more than a year into its ratification in 2015.

The international agreement signed by 92 parties, ensures that countries or communities which are tapped for their biological resources in the development of pharmaceutical goods are compensated for their losses. The World Health Organization convened a meeting in late January to determine the impact of the treaty on vaccine production, following concerns from researchers and pharmaceutical companies alike.

The treaty calls for financial benefits to be shared equally with the community in question and covers a wide range of resources, from animals and plants to the viruses needed for vaccine development. Time constraints governing the production of seasonal flu vaccines, however, mean that the acquisition of virus samples must be unhindered – a challenge that researchers are currently facing because of the Protocol.

While the treaty was designed with the intention of mitigating biopiracy, which often saw developing nations being unfairly targeted for the acquisition of bio-products with little to no compensation in return, international vaccine developers could reportedly be hit with scheduling problems.

With six months made available to companies to accommodate for changes prior to the beginning of flu season, developers could face up to three months in delays should the treaty take complete effect.  While alternative frameworks are being developed to tackle the issue, upcoming WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System panels are yet to determine present recommendations.

Editor: Liya Fan

Featured image by CDC Global/ CC BY 4.0

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