Bird Flu Samples Sent To WHO By Indonesia

by Dr. Sunil Shroff on  February 23, 2008 at 4:22 PM Bird Flu News   - G J E 4
For the first time since 2007, 12 bird flu samples were sent by Indonesia to WHO. A Health Minsitry offical stated that they are looking to carry forward this in coming days too.
Bird Flu Samples Sent To WHO By Indonesia
Bird Flu Samples Sent To WHO By Indonesia

Indonesia, which is the nation hardest hit by bird flu, had halted sharing samples in December 2006, saying it feared multinational drug companies could use them to develop vaccines that were not affordable for poor countries.

In August last year it then sent two samples to the WHO to prove the virus had not mutated after the organisation accused Jakarta of putting the world at risk by failing to share its samples.

Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, who is head of the health ministry's research and development laboratory, said the 12 samples were sent this week to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which is affiliated with the WHO.

'We will try to make it a routine,' she told AFP in a text message, without elaborating on what had triggered the sudden resumption.

H5N1 is endemic across nearly all of this sprawling archipelago nation. Of the 105 deaths reported here in all, 11 have occurred this year alone.

The WHO had also warned last year that by failing to share its samples, Indonesia was putting its own population in danger because anti-flu vaccines developed by industry would not contain components of the viruses here.

Scientists are concerned that the bird flu virus could mutate into a form that is easily transmissible between humans, sparking a global pandemic with a potentially massive death toll.

Source: AFP

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