To date, WHO has concluded 13 agreements with vaccine and antiviral manufacturers, guaranteeing four times the pandemic vaccines available during the H1N1 pandemic. These signatories include 5 multinationals and the largest producer in developing countries. Deliveries of PIP biological materials (IVPP) are accompanied by a shipping message informing recipients that they are required to sign a SMTA2 in exchange for the use of the virus materials. A copy of this communication is available below: A Material Transfer Contract (MTA) is a contract that regulates the transfer of research material between two organizations if the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research purposes. The MTA defines the rights of the supplier and the rights and obligations of the recipient with respect to materials and all offspring, derivatives or modifications. Biological materials such as reagents, cell lines, plasmids and vectors are the most frequently transferred materials, but MTAs can also be used for other types of materials such as chemical compounds, mouse models and even certain types of software. Van den Hurk says that one of the main points of disagreement between developed and developing countries is the idea of digital information on sequencing. Developing countries will not accept a new SMTA without an agreement to also address access to digital sequencing information, while developed countries do not want to include information on digital sequences. In this category, WHO provides access to products such as diagnostic test kits, additional products and training resources.
So far, agreements have been reached with two major diagnostic manufacturers that would provide WHO with diagnostic kits and syringes during the next pandemic. When the subject of genetic material appears, it is difficult to decide where to start. There is so much information, access and distribution of benefits (ABS) to the various frameworks put in place to preserve genetic diversity. The multilateral system (MLS), the benefit-sharing mechanism of ITPGRFA, often works better, especially because it operates under a standard contract – the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). However, MLS is only established for 64 cultures. Van den Hurk said there are two international agreements to be aware of: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).