- Scientists were banned by GISAID from using the database that contained the genomic information they used for their study on COVID-19 virus origins.
- Many scientists have expressed surprise about the ban which appears to have further vitiated public conversations as well as intensified the spotlight on China’s recalcitrance against international investigations on the virus’s origins.
- For now, the debate over the virus’s origins remains open.
What is GISAID
- GISAID (Global Initiative On Sharing All Influenza Data) is an open-access database that was launched in 2008. Its initiative promotes the rapid sharing of data from all influenza viruses and the coronavirus causing COVID-19.
- It hit international headlines when, in January 2020, just before the pandemic began, researchers in China uploaded the first genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus to its server, giving the international community researchers quick and valuable insight into the virus that would change the world.
- The Initiative ensures that open access to data in GISAID is provided free-of-charge to all individuals that agreed to identify themselves and agreed to uphold the GISAID sharing mechanism governed through its Database Access Agreement.
- The GISAID Initiative receives administrative support from Freunde von GISAID e.V. a registered non-profit association, organized and operated exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes.