Influenza virus sharing is vital to global pandemic preparedness. The sharing of viruses facilitates pandemic risk assessment, the development of candidate vaccine viruses, updating of diagnostic reagents and test kits, and surveillance for resistance to antiviral medicines.
Influenza virus sharing is coordinated by the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), an international network of influenza laboratories that conduct year-round surveillance of influenza, assessing the risk of pandemic influenza and assisting in preparedness measures. GISRS serves as a global alert mechanism for the emergence of influenza viruses with pandemic potential.
Under the PIP Framework, the sharing of PIP biological materials within the GISRS network of laboratories is governed by Standard Material Transfer Agreement 1 (SMTA1) which establishes the rights and obligations of GISRS laboratories with respect to many matters including:
- transferring PIP biological materials within and to entities outside GISRS
- handling of PIP biological materials
- use of the Influenza Virus Traceability Mechanism (IVTM)
- research & publications
- intellectual property rights
- dispute resolution
Transparency in the transfer of PIP biological materials both within and beyond the GISRS system is facilitated through a publicly accessible, electronic tracking tool called the Influenza Virus Traceability Mechanism (IVTM).