Wednesday, December 1, 2021

"Disunity of Purpose" (Calvin Ho Profiled in HKU Bulletin)

"Disunity of Purpose"
Calvin Ho
HKU Bulletin
Published in November 2021
Governance and laws relating to human, animal and ecological health are divided across the world, making it difficult to coordinate responses to emerging health threats. Dr Calvin Ho has been analysing the problem.
     In 2007, the Indonesian government announced it would stop sending samples of the H5N1 avian influenza virus detected in its country to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) reference laboratories. Its worry was that these samples, provided freely, would be used by pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines the country could not afford. The situation prompted the establishment of a new international framework for data and pathogen sharing – but only for H5N1 and other influenza viruses with human pandemic potential.
     Despite other circulating threats to human health, such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and emerging zoonotic diseases like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, there is as yet no comprehensive international framework for sharing biological materials and related data to address these concerns. Even the COVID-19 global pandemic has yet to motivate any change.
     Dr Calvin Ho of the Faculty of Law, and Co-Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, has been looking at ethical and legal means to facilitate data and pathogen sharing for AMR and One Health research, and the development of appropriate countermeasures. 
     AMR, which arises mainly from misuse and overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials, is a major concern because drug-resistant pathogens circulate among humans, animals and the environment and are projected to lead to 10 million additional deaths each year globally by 2050. Its growing threat prompted the WHO to endorse the One Health concept in 2010 and recognise that protecting and promoting human health is closely interconnected to animal and environmental health. …Click here to read the full text. 

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