This article on the founder and driving force behind GISAID, which has risen to fame in no small part due to its role as a data repository during the COVID pandemic, is bugshit crazy and worth the read–it’s as if a hybrid of the Tesla dude and arch-confabulator and Republican congressman George Santos ran GenBank.
One point that I hope doesn’t get lost in the craziness is that the original concept for GISAID was to have the data held for six months and then be publicly released to the INSDC databases, such as GenBank. Countries wanting leverage for vaccine development still would be able to bargain with their data, because, after six months, the data are largely of academic interest at that point, with a whole new set of influenza serotypes, but for research purposes, the data would be available to all.
For reasons that aren’t clear, GISAID moved away from that, and I don’t think that helps anyone.
This type of problem is likely to occur when a public good is privatized. Its unfortunate the academic community, WHO, UN, and the life sciences industry could not create an organization like GISAID. It probably did not happen in the past because all the possible stakeholders did not see any upside in creating something they would not have complete control of.