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Proposing a New Global Compact for Infectious Diseases
Date:7/8/2008

ern Europe, Japan and southeastern Australia, concluding that socioeconomic factors including population density and antibiotic drug usage are major determinants of emerging infectious diseases. In an earlier report, The Infectious Diseases Society of America, referring to bacterial infections contracted in hospitals stressed, "... in a growing and frightening number of cases, these bacteria are resistant to many approved drugs, and patients have to be treated with new, investigational compounds or older, toxic alternatives."

Clearly there is an urgent need for a new approach to the global problem of infectious diseases. Over the past year we have intensified our call for a new strategy based on the creation of a four-part Global Compact for Infectious Diseases. Participants in the Compact would build and maintain a data and knowledge architecture that integrates basic scientific, clinical, epidemiologic, policy and economic information. The Compact would also establish and maintain a network of international basic research centers that address microbial threats, work to harmonize regulatory best practices for drug and vaccine production and work to increase the production, distribution and safety monitoring of these agents.

An international treaty, as suggested by the WHA, has the advantages of providing for an international legal basis for enforcement, creating a body of durable "hard law" around an issue and drawing on the power of governments to regulate and license within their jurisdiction. However, treaty ratification is generally a very slow process, limiting action on urgent issues and states may perceive enforcement clauses of treaties as an unacceptable burden or a threat to their sovereignty. The Compact, on the other hand, is a soft law approach that is a proven governance structure for issues of international concern. The Compact allows a relatively fast start-up time, provides a framework for action that brings together a broad coalition
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SOURCE Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response
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