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J Med Ethics. 2015 Mar;41(3):258-62. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2013-101828. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

One Health and paradigms of public biobanking.

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  • 1Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Clinical Research Centre, National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore.


In this paper, the authors consider the idea of the public biobank governance framework with respect to the innovative paradigm of One Health. The One Health initiative has been defined as an integrative and interdisciplinary effort to improve the lives and well-being of human beings and non-human animals, as well as to preserve the environment. Here, we use this approach as a starting presumption with respect to institutional design. We examine the theoretical and legal framework underlying the concept of biobanking that, being public orientated, is for the public good. We suggest that this account of research practice does not ethically correlate with One Health principles. Instead, we argue that One Health requires a model of biobanking that is based on universal goods, that is, goods that serve human beings as well as non-human animals and the environment, and which we define in detail. Our purpose is to begin a discussion on how One Health principles might be implemented in health initiatives.

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