Is the Covid-19 Pandemic a Game Changer in GMO Regulation?

Justus Wesseler, Kai Purnhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

4 Scopus citations


The Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to act as a much-needed trigger for changes to the European Union regulations around genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There are two main reasons for this potential development. Firstly, the majority of vaccines under development would fall under Directive 2001/18 on the release of GMOs into the environment. The European Parliament and Council agreed that, in Recital 17 of Regulation 2020/1043, the current approval procedure for GMOs is not well-suited to improving public health. This was driven in particular by the need for vaccine approval in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic; and a more appropriate approval procedure would be applied. Secondly, several studies have shown that the Covid-19 crisis reduces the purchasing power of households and increases their vulnerability in the case of food shortages; and consequent increases in food prices further exacerbate the nutritional problems of vulnerable groups. Modern plant breeding has the potential to provide less expensive solutions to support vulnerable groups. As the Covid-19 crisis drains government budgets, views around GMOs in the EU may change in the light of positive experiences from the approval of Covid-19 vaccines.

Translated title of the contributionStellt die Covid-19-Pandemie einen Wendepunkt in der GVO-Verordnung dar?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-52
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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