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or patents ( Nature News 2007 ). Indonesia pressed for a material transfer agree-
ment (MTA) that would allow research use, but give Indonesia sovereign owner-
ship of its samples, apart from access to vaccines emanating from its samples (Siti
2007 ) (see also Chap. 5 ).
The concern basically comes from a growing trend in biomedical research
involving the patenting of viruses (Table 7.2 ) that has triggered a major debate in
various groups (Regalado 2003 ). Experts such as Richard Gold have argued for
reforms of the patent system, particularly in the context of the patenting of the
SARS virus (Gold 2003 ). Similar views have come from Peter Yu ( 2003 ). In this
context, the debate on the TRIPS Agreement's article 27.3(b) on the lack of harmo-
nization over the criteria of novelty and 'inventive steps' has remained inconclusive.
Some progress has been made with the WHA's adoption in 2011 of the
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework. As described in more detail in
Chap. 5 , WHA resolution 62.10 urged the facilitation of 'a transparent process
to finalize the remaining elements [of the virus and benefit sharing framework],
including the Standard Material Transfer Agreement' (WHO 2009b ). One year
later, WHA resolution 63.1 urged continued 'work with Member States and rel-
evant regional economic integration organizations, on the Pandemic Influenza
Preparedness Framework for the Sharing of Influenza Viruses and Access to
Vaccines and Other Benefits', and the undertaking of 'technical consultations and
studies as necessary' to support this work (WHO 2010 ). Finally, in April 2011, the
WHO Open-Ended Working Group on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness for the
Sharing of Influenza Viruses and Access to Vaccines and Other Benefits reached
agreement on terms and conditions that will govern the sharing of influenza
viruses and other benefits, and these were approved in May 2011 by the WHA.
Table 7.2 Examples of Virus-related Patents
US Patent 6,528,066
4 March 2003
University of Iowa
First known mutant
chicken-pox virus
May be useful for poten-
tial new diagnostic
test for chicken-pox
US Patent 414319
28 April 2006
Rabinowitz, Joseph
E. (Carrboro, NC,
US), Samulski,
Richard Jude
(Chapel Hill, NC,
US), Xiao, Weidong
(Jenkintown, PA,
Viral vectors and
methods of making
and administering
the same
The parvoviruses of the
invention provide a
repertoire of vectors
with altered antigenic
properties, packaging
capabilities, and/or
cellular tropisms as
compared with cur-
rent AAV vectors
US Patent 4,983,387
31 July 2001
Zimmerman, Daniel H.
(Bethesda, MD)
Sarin, Prem S.
(Gaithersburg, MD)
Modified HGP-30
Forms part of the core
of the AIDS virus for
a potential vaccine
against AIDS
Sources : WHO ( 2009a ), Regalado ( 2003 )
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