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"Everybody knows this needs to be done, but nobody really wants to do it": Governing pathogen- and benefit-sharing

[Governing Pathogen- and Benefit-Sharing (PBS)]

This study investigated practices in pathogen and benefit-sharing (PBS) internationally and through two outbreak specific case studies. At the time of publication the authors believed that the study represented the largest collection of empirical data on PBS practices for emerging infectious diseases.


Access to pathogen sample data is critical for researchers to be able to identify and understand pathogens, and to develop medical countermeasures, however, fair and equitable benefit-sharing remains a challenging issue globally. This study investigated current practices in pathogen and benefit-sharing (PBS) both at the international level and through two outbreak specific case studies (Ebola virus in Liberia 2014-16 and Zika virus in Brazil 2015-16) and identifies workable solutions.

This paper is part of the Governing Pandemics resource collection, an initiative of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. The initiative, which launched an online portal in July 2021, is a curated online repository of resources on issue areas in which the global community must improve in order to better prepare for and respond to future pandemics. The issue areas are:

  • Countermeasure Innovation & Access
  • Financing
  • International Health Regulations
  • National, Regional & Global Preparedness
  • One Health
  • Pandemic Treaty
  • Pathogen & Benefit-Sharing
  • World Health Organization