Global initiative encourages sharing disease info to combat outbreaks

In the event of a global pandemic, international sharing of data would be crucial in saving the human race. For now, researchers can agree that the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) shows just how improved international sharing of data could protect people in the event of an infectious disease outbreak.

In such an event, nations around the globe should be able to come together and join scientific communities to share information regarding the disease. The GISAID was the first step in international disease information sharing and researchers compiled five steps, following GISAID’s methods, to improve global health including:

  1. Bring together a complete record of high-quality information of influenza from around the world.
  2. Develop a process to rapidly share information for outbreaks.
  3. Support the World Health Organizations selection process for the top seasonal flu strain.
  4. Develop problem-solving methods for potential barriers to the sharing of disease data.
  5. Reinforcing the trust between countries important to the global pandemic preparedness.

"How to encourage the rapid international sharing of scientific data about deadly pathogens is a major global health challenge for the twenty-first century. There are important lessons that can be learned from the influenza community, which has developed an innovative model for sharing such data over the past decade," said Stefan Elbe, co-author of the Global Challenges article.