WHO and Switzerland launch global BioHub for pathogen storage, sharing and analysis

01 June 2021

Article: 55/2207

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Swiss Confederation have launched the first WHO BioHub Facility as part of the WHO BioHub System. This facility will enhance the rapid sharing of viruses and other pathogens between laboratories and partners globally. Based in Spiez, Switzerland, the facility will serve as a centre for the safe receipt, sequencing, storage and preparation of biological materials for distribution to other laboratories, in order to inform risk assessments and sustain global preparedness against these pathogens.

Currently, most pathogen sharing occurs between countries on an ad hoc basis, which can be slow and may leave some countries without access to the benefits and tools. The BioHub will enable member states to share biological materials via the BioHub under pre-agreed conditions, including biosafety, biosecurity, and other applicable regulations. This will ensure timeliness and predictability in response activities.

Following results from the pilot project, the BioHub will expand from SARS-COV-2 and its variants, to other pathogens, and connect partners with other repositories and laboratory networks in 2022.

Source: WHO, 24 May 2021