Sunday, January 16, 2022

Calvin Ho & Karel Caals on The International Pandemic Preparedness Treaty and An Emerging Digital Divide (Asia Global Online)

The International Pandemic Preparedness Treaty and An Emerging Digital Divide
Dr Calvin Ho & Karel Caals
Asia Global Online
5 January 2022 
Introduction: The persistent Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered various inequities, from access to crucial supplies and income inequality to the digital divide. As the World Health Organization begins work on a new international treaty on pandemic preparedness and response, Calvin Ho Wai Loon of The University of Hong Kong and Karel Caals of the National University of Singapore examine digital inequalities that have arisen from different health systems, arguing that pandemic preparedness should include a range of digital health capabilities with a view to minimizing the digital divide. ... Click here to read the full text. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

New Book by Thomas Cheng & Kelvin Kwok: Hong Kong Competition Law: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives (Cambridge University Press)

Hong Kong Competition Law: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives
Published in October 2021
Book Description: This is the first academic monograph on the new competition law in Hong Kong. It provides an overview of the historical background of the Competition Ordinance, highlighting the debate and the process that led to the adoption of the Ordinance. It offers detailed comparative and theoretical analysis of the key provisions of the Ordinance, focusing on the First Conduct Rule, the Second Conduct Rule, the exclusions and exemptions, and the procedural provisions. It draws on overseas legislation and jurisprudence that inspired the provisions in the Ordinance and incorporates a detailed examination of the latest cases decided by the Competition Tribunal. It engages in relevant academic debates and theoretical analysis of how competition law in Hong Kong should develop in light of its unique economic and political contexts. It concludes by setting forth of a set of recommendations for further reform.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

CMEL Newsletter (Nov - Dec 2021)



Photo of LLM(MEL) Class of 2021 with Dr Eric C Ip and Dr Calvin W L Ho

We congratulate the 21 students in our Master of Laws in Medical Ethics and Law ("LLM(MEL)") course who graduated in 2021, and our first MBBS student who successfully completed the course as an intercalated degree. We also take this opportunity to remember the late Ms Lau Ching Kar Karen, who was one of our LLM(MEL) students, and we are grateful to her brother, Mr Aaron Lau, for the eulogy that is published in this issue. 

As in our previous newsletters, we highlight new publications, interviews, and online resources, such as updates on non-locally trained medical practitioners, "alternative smoking products", medical manslaughter and the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance. 

Looking ahead into the new year, we invite readers to participate in our events as well as those of our collaborators, the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine ("CHM") (Faculty of Arts and LKS Faculty of Medicine) and the Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit ("MEHU") (LKS Faculty of Medicine). Among these are CMEL’s "Informed Consent" webinar and "Annual Review of Hong Kong Health Law" webinar in January and February 2022 respectively as well as the "Medical Research and Drug Policy" virtual book talk of CHM and MEHU in January 2022.

Finally, we take this opportunity to wish everyone restful holidays and a fruitful new year to come. 

Photo of LLM(MEL) Class of 2021 with Former Chief Justice The Honourable Mr Geoffrey Ma and Dean Professor Hualing Fu
Above: LLM(MEL) Class of 2021 with Dr Eric C. Ip and Dr Calvin W. L. HoAbove: LLM(MEL) Class of 2021 with Former Chief Justice The Honourable Mr Geoffrey Ma and Dean Professor Hualing Fu

Latest Research Banner



"The patient-centric turn in medical liability in Singapore" (Open Access)
In Medical Liability in Asia and Australasia (Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series), Springer Nature, 2022
By Calvin W. L. Ho


 "COVID-19 vaccine trial designs in the context of authorized COVID-19 vaccines and expanding global access: ethical considerations" (Open Access)

Policy Brief of the World Health Organization, 29 November 2021

Our Calvin W. L. Ho is a contributor

Graduate Education Banner


We are calling for applications to the Master of Laws in Medical Ethics and Law ("LLM(MEL)") programme for the 2022 intake.

Please refer to the "Events" section below for details of the information sessions.


Photo of the late Ms Lau Ching Kar Karen
The late Ms Lau Ching Kar Karen

One of the students in the LLM(MEL) class of 2021, Ms LAU Ching Kar Karen, passed away earlier this year. Karen had done well and will always be a member of the HKU Law School. The following is a memoriam written by Ms Karen Lau’s brother in loving remembrance of her.

My family and I would like to thank Karen’s teachers and classmates, as well as the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law and the Department of Law of the University of Hong Kong for the unwavering support during her studies this past year. While Karen has yet to complete her Masters due to this sudden illness, my family and I remain hopeful that a posthumous award of the degree is possible, as Karen’s wish was to complete this course. I am confident that Karen’s commitment, perseverance and resilience shall continue to inspire generations of students to come. 
In Memoriam: Lau Ching Kar Karen
Congratulations to all 2021 Master of Laws (Medical Ethics and Law) graduates. My late sister, Lau Ching Kar Karen, would have been among you as a graduand at the 205th Congregation, but she succumbed to terminal cancer in May 2021 at the age of 40.  

As a practising Barrister-at-Law and formerly a teacher at a local secondary school, Karen has inspired many to become legal professionals as well as educators. Karen was a smart, loving, caring, and gentle person. She was always cheerful and when her friends encountered difficulties, her kindness would radiate like the sun, providing warmth and shelter in the darkest of times. When given an insurmountable task at work, she would openly accept it with open arms and complete it with sheer perfection. Even when she had Sarcoma, she did not run away in fear. Instead, she stood up and fought valiantly until the end.

Today, we are here to remember a great friend, a great ally, a great colleague, a great sister, a great human being. Though she is not bodily with us, her life has touched many and her spirit shall imbue every one of us. Her legacy shall continue as she has reminded us not to give up hope as waking up to a new day is a gift. 

Lau Ching Kong Aaron, MEd (HKU)

Events banner


LLM(MEL) Banner

Identical Information Sessions on Zoom

19 January 2022 (Wed) | 7:00 pm – 7:45 pm (HKT)
Register here.

16 February 2022 (Wed) | 7:00 pm – 7:45 pm (HKT)
Register here.

Learn more about the programme here.



Title: Relational Autonomy: Rethinking Informed Consent in Healthcare from Cross-Cultural and Religious Perspectives (Webinar)

Date: 26 January 2022 (Wed), 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm (HKT)

Abstract: The requirement of informed consent in healthcare and biomedical research tends to be construed and implemented in ways that are overtly individualistic and without adequate recognition of the attending social, cultural and religious conditions. Drawing from contributions in the edited monographs "Cross-Cultural and Religious Critiques of Informed Consent" and "Medical Decision-Making on Behalf of Young Children", contributing authors and commentators discuss key arguments and implications of this contribution to the bioethical literature on informed consent.

Details and registration: click here

CMEL Informed Consent Webinar Poster


Title: Annual Review of Hong Kong Health Law in 2021 (Webinar) (CPD/CME to be applied for)
Date: 23 February 2022 (Wed), 6:30 pm – 8 pm (HKT)

Abstract: Year 2021 saw a number of significant and noteworthy statutory and case law developments affecting medical and health law in Hong Kong. This webinar will take a look at some of these developments.

This webinar will be jointly organised with Messrs Howse Williams.

Details and registration link will be made available on CMEL’s website soon.


CMEL’s Co-Director Dr Calvin W. L. Ho and Research Fellow Dr Eric C. Ip participated in a virtual conference entitled "Intellectual Property, Covid-19, and the Next Pandemic: Diagnosing Problems, Developing Cures" as a speaker on 5 November 2021 and as a moderator on 6 November 2021 respectively.

The title of Dr Ho’s presentation was "Governing the ACT-Accelerator: Current Challenges to Access and Innovation, and Opportunities for Change". The conference was co-organised by the Law and Technology Centre of the University of Hong Kong and the Georgetown University Law Center. 

The video recording is available here.


CMEL’s Dr Calvin W. L. Ho was one of the speakers at a virtual seminar entitled "Seminar on Genomics — Ethical and Governance Considerations for Reproductive Genetic Screening" held on 23 November 2021.

His topic was the responsible implementation of expanded prenatal genetic testing in Hong Kong and Singapore. The seminar was organised by the CUHK Centre for Bioethics of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The video recording is available here.

Screenshot of CUHK Webinar on Reproductive Genetic Screenings


This virtual book series features recently published authors in conversation with established scholars working at the nexus of global health and the humanities, ethics, and law. Started by CMEL board members Dr Priscilla Song (Associate Professor in the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine) ("CHM") and Dr Harry Wu (former Director of the Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit) during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions in Hong Kong, the book series has played an important role in facilitating virtual engagement among faculty and students at the University of Hong Kong with scholars around the world.

Authors featured in the book series to date include:

Screenshot of CHM Book Talk on Anxious China

The next upcoming book talk in the series will feature Dr Ido Hartogsohn (American Trip: Set, Setting and the Psychedelic Experience in the 20th Century, MIT Press 2020):

  • Talk Title: Beyond the substance: psychedelics and the challenge of medical research and drug policy

    Speaker: Dr Ido Hartogsohn, PhD (Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society, Bar Ilan University, Israel)

    Discussants: Professor Gordon Mathews (Department of Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong) & Dr Alex Gearin (Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit, University of Hong Kong)

    Book Information: American Trip: Set, Setting and the Psychedelic Experience in the 20th Century (MIT Press 2020)

    Date/Time: 10 January 2022 (Mon), 5:00 pm HKT (Other Time Zones: 9:00 am London / 11:00 am Tel Aviv / 8:00 pm Sydney)

    Delivery: via Zoom

    Registration: click here

    Talk abstract: Medical science and drug policy approaches have often been based on essentialist definitions of drug action and dichotomous distinctions between licit drugs and drugs of abuse. In recent years, though, a growing awareness of the context-dependency and socio-cultural situatedness of drug effects has opened up the prospect of rethinking medical drug research and drug policy in light of social constructivist insights into drug effects, which place the emphasis on the cruciality of set and setting (context) rather than chemical essentialism. Based on Ido Hartogsohn’s American Trip: Set, Setting and the Psychedelic Experience in the 20th Century (MIT Press, 2020), the talk will use the story of mid-twentieth-century American psychedelic research and culture as a backdrop for an examination of social-constructivist insights into the context-dependency of drug effects and their implications for medical research and drug policy.

Additional book talks in the spring 2022 lineup will feature the following authors:

 For more details about upcoming book talks, please check out the Events page of the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine.



The Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit (MEHU) is a teaching and research unit of the LKS Faculty of Medicine inaugurated in 2012.  MEHU seeks to inspire interest and scholarly work in medical ethics and humanities through the corresponding curricula in the undergraduate MBBS programme, as well as events and collaborations with academic and community-based colleagues.  MEHU welcomes colleagues to get involved with its "Conversations and Connections" event series, which brings together diverse voices to stimulate discussion and thought around the issues that matter to those who practice and use healthcare. Speakers have ranged from healthcare professionals to creative artists, philosophers, Olympic athletes, advocates for transgender rights, humanitarian workers, and medico-legal experts. The first event of this year’s series kicked off with a screening and lively panel discussion of the film "Alive in the Mortuary" based on an award-winning script by local playwright Ms Chong Mui Ngam and produced by Hong Kong’s own Chung Ying Theatre company. Students and staff joined to watch the film which follows a medical graduate from Hong Kong University who becomes a surgeon working in a challenging war environment in Africa. The character encounters a series of ethical and existential dilemmas while stuck in a mortuary and confronted by an apparition of his younger self. After the film, the vibrant panel discussion was led by HKUMed neurosurgeon Dr Anderson Tsang in conversation with the artistic director of the film, Mr Dominic Cheung, and nurse and midwife Ms Tobey Lee who worked with Medicins sans Frontieres in a refugee field hospital in Africa. The speakers highlighted the power of theatre in communicating the ambiguous experiences and ethical challenges of medicine to the broader public. Reflecting on the main character in the film, Director Cheung reminded the audience of the importance of grasping our initial motivations, passions, and dreams during times of ethical crisis and challenge. For more information about the MH "Conversations and Connections" series or to be included on the mailing list please contact coordinator, Dr Alex Gearin (

Photo of MEHU film screening event


KE Banner


 Our Dr Philip Beh recently had the honour of being interviewed in the SCOM Talk Show hosted by the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. In the interview, Dr Beh talked about his experiences as a forensic pathologist and his views on the concept of "death". As an advocate for victims of sexual violence, he shared his views on the governmental policies and law. Click here for the video (in Cantonese only). 



 In two radio programmes on Radio Television Hong Kong, "Talkabout" and "Open Line Open View", our Dr Calvin W. L. Ho shared his views on the proposal to introduce a local vaccine pass system for entering designated premises, such as workplaces, schools and public places, in Hong Kong. Click the links below to learn more: 


In the journal Cell Genomics, our Dr Calvin W. L. Ho explains how the Regulatory & Ethics Toolkit of Global Alliance for Genomics & Health can support consensus building in genomics research from the bottom up. Learn more here:

HKU Bulletin features the research and policy work of our Dr Calvin W. L. Ho on One Health and its challenges from legal and ethics perspectives. Learn more here: 

Medical Law Updates Banner


The Legislative Council of Hong Kong recently passed the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021 to create a new pathway for non-locally trained medical practitioners to practise in Hong Kong. Click here for a news article on this.


The Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill 2019 was recently passed by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. The amendments brought about by the bill will, among other things, prohibit the import, manufacture and sale of "alternative smoking products". Read more here.


In the infamous "DR Beauty" case, the deceased underwent at a clinic of the DR Group a cellular therapy treatment known as "CIK" treatment whereby blood extracted from her was taken to a laboratory to undergo a process of culturing, after which it was infused back into her. The blood was contaminated before it was infused back into her, who died from "multi-organ failure" afterwards.

The first defendant ("D1") and the second defendant ("D2"), who were in charge of the DR Group and processed the blood respectively, sought leave to appeal against both their convictions and sentences. The Court of Appeal refused leave to appeal against their conviction and dismissed their appeals against conviction but allowed their appeals against sentence. Upon consideration, the Court of Appeal reduced the sentences, in the case of D1, to 10 years’ imprisonment and, in the case of D2, to 8 years’ imprisonment.

Click here for a summary of the Judgment. 


A medical doctor was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment in Hong Kong for gross negligence manslaughter in respect of the death of her patient, who died in 2014 following a liposuction procedure performed by the doctor.
Click here for a summary of the Reasons for Sentence.


In the postscript to the Reasons for Sentence in HKSAR v Kwan Hau Chi, Vanessa, the case above, the judge observed that the incident was "a classic example of the need not only of the regulation of private healthcare facilities in Hong Kong but of the ease at which medical practitioners can conduct high-risk medical procedures in these facilities" and noted that the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance (Cap. 633) ("PHFO") was gazetted subsequent to the incident.

PHFO introduces a new regulatory regime for private healthcare facilities (PHFs). Four types of PHFs (hospitals, day procedure centres, clinics and health services establishments) are subject to regulation. This new regime is being implemented in phases. Click here for a simple guide to the PHFO.

Season's Greetings Banner


Logo of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law

The Centre for Medical Ethics and Law (CMEL) develops new ideas and solutions in response to the big ethical, legal and policy questions of medicine and health.

CMEL is the first cross-faculty interdisciplinary institution of its kind in the region. It was founded in 2012 by the LKS Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law at The University of Hong Kong as a joint inheritor of their vibrant intellectual traditions dating back to 1887 and 1969 respectively.

Today, CMEL brings together bioethicists, academic lawyers, medical scientists, and other scholars to conduct cutting edge bioethical and legal research and contribute to policy development in flagship areas like population and global health, mental health and capacity, and digital health and emergent technologies.
Research, teaching and knowledge exchange—CMEL’s core initiatives—aim to ensure that developments in biomedicine and public health will be underpinned by ethical and legal considerations.

Logo of the LKS Faculty of Medicine    Logo of the Faculty of Law

Centre for Medical Ethics and Law

Office 9.21, 9
TH Floor,
Cheng Yu Tung Tower,
The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR

T +852 3917 1845
F +852 2549 8495

Calvin Ho on COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Designs in the Context of Authorized COVID-19 Vaccines and Expanding Global Access: Ethical Considerations (a Contributor of Policy Brief of the World Health Organization, 29 November 2021)

Introduction of Executive Summary
     In June 2020, global regulators convened under the auspices of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) and co-chaired jointly by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reached consensus on the study design requirements for Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. The ICMRA noted that phase 3 clinical trials should be randomized, double-blinded and controlled with a placebo or active comparators. In September 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO ) advised: “Phase IIB/III efficacy trials should be randomized, double-blinded and placebo controlled.” Since then, multiple COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized worldwide based on interim results of pivotal placebo-controlled efficacy trials, and billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered under emergency use/conditional marketing authorization or full approval regulatory mechanisms.

Calvin Ho et al on Governing the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator: towards Greater Participation, Transparency, and Accountability (The Lancet)

"Governing the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator: towards greater participation, transparency, and accountability"
Suerie Moon, Jana Armstrong, Brian Hutler, Prof Ross Upshur, Rachel Katz, Caesar Atuire, Anant Bhan, Prof Ezekiel Emanuel, Prof Ruth Faden, Prof Prakash Ghimire, Dirceu Greco, Calvin Ho, Sonali Kochhar, Owen Schaefer, Ehsan Shamsi-Gooshki, Prof Jerome Amir Singh, Maxwell J Smith, Prof Jonathan Wolff
The Lancet
Published on 11 December 2021
Summary: The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) is a multistakeholder initiative quickly constructed in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic to respond to a catastrophic breakdown in global cooperation. ACT-A is now the largest international effort to achieve equitable access to COVID-19 health technologies, and its governance is a matter of broad public importance. We traced the evolution of ACT-A's governance through publicly available documents and analysed it against three principles embedded in the founding mission statement of ACT-A: participation, transparency, and accountability. We found three challenges to realising these principles. First, the roles of the various organisations in ACT-A decision making are unclear, obscuring who might be accountable to whom and for what. Second, the absence of a clearly defined decision making body; ACT-A instead has multiple centres of legally binding decision making and uneven arrangements for information transparency, inhibiting meaningful participation. Third, the nearly indiscernible role of governments in ACT-A, raising key questions about political legitimacy and channels for public accountability. With global public health and billions in public funding at stake, short-term improvements to governance arrangements can and should now be made. Efforts to strengthen pandemic preparedness for the future require attention to ethical, legitimate arrangements for governance.

Calvin Ho et al on GA4GH: International Policies and Standards for Data Sharing across Genomic Research and Healthcare (Cell Genomics)

"GA4GH: International policies and standards for data sharing across genomic research and healthcare"
Heidi L. Rehm, Angela J.H. Page, Lindsay Smith, Jeremy B. Adams, Gil Alterovitz, Lawrence, J. Babb, Maxmillian P. Barkley, Michael Baudis, Michael J.S. Beauvais, Tim Beck, Jacques, S. Beckmann, Sergi Beltran, David Bernick, Alexander Bernier, James K. Bonfield, Tiffany F. Boughtwood, Guillaume Bourque, Sarion R. Bowers, Anthony J. Brookes, Michael Brudno, Matthew H. Brush, David Bujold, Tony Burdett, Orion J. Buske, Moran N. Cabili, Daniel L. Cameron, Robert J. Carroll, Esmeralda Casas-Silva, Debyani Chakravarty, Bimal P. Chaudhari, Shu Hui Chen,  J Michael Cherry, Justina Chung, Melissa Cline. Hayley L. Clissold, Robert M. Cook-Deegan, Mélanie Courtot, Fiona Cunningham, Miro Cupak, Robert M. Davies, Danielle Denisko, Megan J.Doerr, Lena I. Dolman, Edward S. Dove, L. Jonathan Dursi, Stephanie O.M. Dyke, James A. Eddy, Karen Eilbeck, Kyle P. Ellrott, Susan Fairley, Khalid A. Fakhro, Helen V. Firth, Michael S. Fitzsimons, Marc Fiume, Paul Flicek, Ian M.Fore, Mallory A.F reeberg, Robert R.Freimuth, Lauren A.Fromont, JonathanFuerth, Clara L.Gaff, Weiniu Gan, Elena M. Ghanaim, David Glazer, Robert C. Green, Malachi Griffith, Obi L.Griffith, Robert L. Grossman, Tudor Groza, Jaime M.Guidry Auvil, Roderic Guigó, Dipayan Gupta, Melissa A. Haendel, Ada Hamosh, David P .Hansen, Reece K.Hart, Dean Mitchell Hartley, David Haussler, Rachele M. Hendricks-Sturrup, Calvin W.L.Ho, Ashley E.Hobb, Michael M. Hoffmanm, Oliver M.Hofmann, PetrHolub, Jacob ShujuiHsu, Jean-Pierre Hubaux, Sarah E.Hunt, Ammar Husami, Julius O.J acobsen, Saumya S. Jamuar, Elizabeth L. Janes, Francis Jeanson, Aina Jeném Amber L. Johns, Yann Joly, Steven J.M. Jones, Alexander Kanitz, Kazuto Kato, Thomas M.Keane, Kristina Kekesi-Lafrance, Jerome Kelleher, Giselle Kerry, Seik-SoonKhor, Bartha M. Knoppers, Melissa A. Konopko, Kenjiro Kosaki, Martin Kuba, Jonathan Lawson, Rasko Leinonen, Stephanie Li, Michael F. Lin, Mikael Linden, Xianglin Liu, Isuru Udara Liyanage, Javier Lopez, Anneke M. Lucassen, Michael Lukowski, Alice L.Mann, John Marshall, Michele Mattioni, Alejandro Metke-Jimenez, Anna Middleton, Richard J. Milne, Fruzsina Molnár-Gábor, Nicola Mulder, Monica C.Munoz-Torres, RishiNag, Hidewaki Nakagawa, Jamal Nasir, Arcadi Navarro, Tristan H. Nelson, Ania Niewielska, Amy Nisselle, Jeffrey Niu, Tommi H.Nyrönen, Brian D. O’Connor, Sabine Oesterle, Soichi Ogishima, VivianOta Wang, Laura A.D.Paglione, Emilio Palumbo, Helen E. Parkinson, Anthony A. Philippakis, Angel D.Pizarro, Andreas Prlic, Jordi Rambla, Augusto Rendon, Renee A.Rider, Peter N.Robinson, Kurt W.Rodarmer, Laura Lyman Rodriguez, Alan F.Rubin, Manuel Rueda, Gregory A.Rushton, Rosalyn S.Ryan, Gary I. Saunders, Helen Schuilenburg, Torsten Schwede, Serena Scollen, Alexander Senf, Nathan C.Sheffield, Neerjah Skantharajah, Albert V. Smith, Heidi J. Sofia, Dylan Spalding, Amanda B.Spurdle, Zornitza Stark, Lincoln D.Stein, Makoto Suematsu, Patrick Tan, Jonathan A. Tedds, Alastair A. Thomson, Adrian Thorogood, Timothy L.Tickle1 Katsushi Tokunaga, Juha Törnroos, David Torrents, Sean Upchurch, Alfonso Valencia, Roman Valls Guimera ,Jessica Vamathevan, Susheel Varma, Danya F. Vears, Coby Viner, Craig Voisin, Alex H. Wagner, Susan E. Wallace, Brian P.Walsh, Marc S.Williams, Eva C.Winkler, Barbara J.Wold, Grant M. Wood, J. Patrick Woolley, Chisato Yamasaki, Andrew D.Yates, Christina K.Yung, Lyndon J.Zass, Ksenia Zaytseva, Junjun Zhang, Peter Goodhand, Kathryn North1, Ewan Birney
Cell Genomics
Published in Nov 2021
Summary: The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) aims to accelerate biomedical advances by enabling the responsible sharing of clinical and genomic data through both harmonized data aggregation and federated approaches. The decreasing cost of genomic sequencing (along with other genome-wide molecular assays) and increasing evidence of its clinical utility will soon drive the generation of sequence data from tens of millions of humans, with increasing levels of diversity. In this perspective, we present the GA4GH strategies for addressing the major challenges of this data revolution. We describe the GA4GH organization, which is fueled by the development efforts of eight Work Streams and informed by the needs of 24 Driver Projects and other key stakeholders. We present the GA4GH suite of secure, interoperable technical standards and policy frameworks and review the current status of standards, their relevance to key domains of research and clinical care, and future plans of GA4GH. Broad international participation in building, adopting, and deploying GA4GH standards and frameworks will catalyze an unprecedented effort in data sharing that will be critical to advancing genomic medicine and ensuring that all populations can access its benefits.