The trillion-dollar question that online sharing of DNA poses

Digitization of genetic material has helped develop life-saving products like COVID-19 vaccines. But it has also exposed gaps in global biodiversity regulations.

Over a decade before the COVID-19 virus was detected, an organization began an ambitious project to track the various strains of the influenza virus across the world. The Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data, or GISAID, has, over the years, managed to create a bank of genetic information on lethal viruses. All of this information is available on a digital portal, with the aim of making health data accessible to all. 

This is a crucial resource. Using a genetic sequence from the GISAID database, one can learn about the spike protein on the virus’s surface and develop a vaccine …


Monika Mondal

Monika is an independent journalist who writes about science, sustainability and the environment.