Ukraine-Russia conflict: WHO urges Ukraine to destroy 'high-threat pathogens' in its labs amid fears of war damage
WHO said it had “strongly recommended” to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health the pathogens kept in labs should be destroyed to “prevent any potential spills”.
It said it would offer any technical assistance needed to do so.
A statement issued by WHO said: “WHO routinely assists member states in improving their public health capacities, including by facilitating improved safety and security of laboratories holding samples of pathogens of public health concern.
“WHO’s country office in Ukraine has been working for several years with the Ministry of Health and other partners, including other WHO Member States, to support the enhancing of biosafety and biosecurity of labs, as well as the capacity of lab personnel, in particular to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The organisation added: “WHO also promotes biosecurity at laboratories, e.g. prevention of accidental or deliberate release of pathogens. As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills.
“We encourage all parties to co-operate in the safe and secure disposal of any pathogens they come across, and to reach out for technical assistance as needed. WHO will assist wherever possible with technical guidance and co-ordination.”
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic, speaking from Lviv in Ukraine, told the United Nations bi-weekly press conference that in case of a threat, there was a protocol on how to dispose safely of pathogens to avoid any accidental spills.
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