World governments failed to reach a final deal on the sharing of virus research material and vaccines in case of a global flu pandemic at a weekend meeting of the World Health Organization.
"The intergovernemental meeting concluded its deliberation and reached an agreement on most elements of the pandemic influenza preparedness framework for the sharing of influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits," a statement said.
Advertisement"However, further work needs to be undertaken on key remaining elements," it added.
Among the issues which remain unresolved following the two-day meeting that ended Saturday are the sharing of data between laboratories and intellectual property rights on viruses.
The WHO meeting had been planned for some time but took on new urgency with the outbreak last month of a new version of swine flu, the A(H1N1) virus which has already infected nearly 8,500 people in 38 countries.
Discussions began on the subject in 2007 amid an outbreak of the bird flu. Indonesia, one of the countries hit in the outbreak, raised the issue of the sharing of vaccines between industrialised and developing countries which do not have the means to produce enough doses in case of a global pandemic.
The WHO's World Assembly, its governing body, begins its annual meeting on Monday in Geneva and discussions on the subject could continue, said Nigerian representative Abdul Salami Nassidi.