Switzerland signed a deal with the World Health Organization to host a global repository for viruses with pandemic potential to bolster international defenses against emerging threats.
The BioHub laboratory will store and analyze pathogens from across the globe and enhance the rapid sharing of information between labs around the world.
The WHO Director-General said it would be a “reliable, safe and transparent mechanism for member states to voluntarily share pathogens and clinical samples.”
The memorandum of understanding was signed at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, as the UN health agency kicked off its annual main assembly of member states.
The facility will be hosted at the Swiss defense ministry’s biological safety laboratories in the lakeside town of Spiez.
Currently, most pathogen sharing is done between individual countries in an ad hoc way, which can be slow and leave some states out of the loop.