Editorial by Yuelong Shu et al
Ten years ago, a correspondence signed by more than 70 championed ‘A global initiative on sharing avian flu data’ leading to the GISAID Initiative in 2008. What started out as an expression of intent to foster international sharing of all influenza virus data and to publish results collaboratively has emerged as an indispensable mechanism for sharing influenza genetic sequence and metadata that embraces the interests and concerns of the wider influenza community, public health and animal health scientists, along with governments around the world. Today GISAID is recognised as an effective and trusted mechanism for rapid sharing of both published and ‘unpublished’ influenza data. Its concept for incentivising data sharing established an alternative to data sharing via conventional public-domain archives. read more
Correspondence by John W. McCauley
On behalf of the Scientific Advisory Council of the influenza data-sharing initiative GISAID (www.gisaid.org), we suggest that this long-standing and successful programme could be extended to help speed on-the-ground responses to other emergent viral threats. read more
by Stefan Elbe and Gemma Buckland-Merrett
This article undertakes the first analysis of the GISAID Initiative as an innovative policy effort to promote the international sharing of genetic and associated influenza virus data. Based on more than 20 semi-structured interviews conducted with key informants in the international community, coupled with analysis of a wide range of primary and secondary sources, the article finds that the GISAID Initiative contributes to global health in at least five ways: read more
A swift and effective response to emerging infectious diseases demands that researchers have ready access to the latest data on the pathogens responsible. There is still a long way to go to ensure this. Another year, another virus. As the Ebola-virus epidemic recedes, Zika dominates the news. Many scientists across the research fields, but notably in genomics, have been enthusiastic champions of early data release. Infectious-disease researchers make use of public forums and databases such as virological.org and GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data). read more
China’s well-handled response to outbreaks of H7N9 avian influenza belies the country’s bad reputation from its past dealings with disease. But there are still improvements to be made.
China reported the H7N9 outbreak to the World Health Organization (WHO) on 31 March, just six weeks after the first known person fell ill. On the same day, it published the genomic sequences of viruses from the three human cases then identified on the database of the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). read more
By Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director General
On the occasion of the GISAID Symposium hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn, Dr. Fukuda spoke to the theme Breaking Through Influenza Information Walls.
"We have the development of critically important and technically advanced new platforms such as GISAID. This data sharing initiative provides an important option for sharing genetic sequence and epidemiological data."
"The hosting of this platform by the Federal Republic of Germany signifies an important level of engagement from a major country and scientific power, and provides all countries with an important component of trust" read more
By Prof. Dr. Winston Hide
It is unique in the global community in that the principles of GISAID address the tensions between developed world research groups and developing world laboratories using the remarkable leveling effect of an internationally accessible repository and analytical engine – – where all who use it must agree upon ethical and collaborative use of the data against a common set of data sharing principles.
GISAID researchers have a remarkable opportunity to collaborate and exploit the novel data it contains.
Die weltweite Verbreitung einer besonders gefährlichen Form des Vogelgrippe-Erregers, der Virusvariante H5N1, hat in den letzten Jahren teilweise dramatische ökonomische Probleme hervorgerufen und darüber hinaus in einigen Entwicklungsländern zu Versorgungsengpässen mit Lebensmitteln geführt.
Zwar ist eine direkte Bedrohung für den Menschen derzeit noch nicht auszumachen, fortlaufende Veränderungen des Virus stellen aber auch ein erhebliches Risiko für den Menschen dar. Daher erscheint es wichtig, das Veränderungspotential des Virus besser zu verstehen und die dazu verfügbaren Daten der internationalen Wissenschaftlergemeinschaft frei zugänglich zu machen.
Diesem Ansatz dient die unabhängige Initiative von Wissenschaftlern, die den weltweiten verantwortlichen Austausch von Daten über den Vogelgrippe-Erreger zum Ziel hat (englisch: Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data, GISAID). Zahlreiche betroffene Entwicklungsländer, darunter China und Indonesien haben bereits über GISAID ihre Grippedaten zugänglich gemacht, die auf einer entsprechenden Internetplattform öffentlich und kostenfrei zugänglich sind. Die Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina begrüßt diese Initiative ausdrücklich. read more
Greater sharing of data would accelerate research on the virus. We recommend that genetic, antigenic and pathogenic data relating to new avian viruses, especially H5, H7 and H9 subtypes, should be made widely and rapidly available. In a letter to Nature, 70 scientists proposed the creation of a global initiative on sharing avian flu data that would promote the sharing of data via public databases within six months of it being analysed and validated (Bogner et al 2006).
We recommend that the UK government supports the global initiative on sharing avian influenza data and ensures that government and publicly funded laboratories put in place plans to publish all surveillance data. read more
A scheme to end secrecy in the sharing of avian-flu samples and data, announced online last week in Nature, addresses one aspect of the challenge. The Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) is modelled on guidelines for sharing data in large-scale biological research.
It is encouraging that so many leading flu researchers have signed up to its principles, under which countries and scientists would immediately share pre-publication samples and data, provided that all those who seek access abide by rules on intellectual property and the attribution of credit. read more