China today agreed to reconduct lab tests to find out whether a man died of the deadly bird flu disease in Beijing as early as 2003, after eight of its scientists alleged a cover-up on the matter.
The Chinese Ministry of Health said it was conducting new lab tests to verify the cause of the man's death.
"In accordance with World Health Organisation and China's diagnostic standards for human avian influenza, parallel laboratory tests are needed for further confirmation," spokesman of the ministry, Mao Qun'an, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting the tests, and the ministry will keep the WHO updated, he said.
If the lab tests confirm the man's death of bird flu, he is expected to be the world's first case in which the deadly virus caused death of a human being.
The ministry has also made contact with the eight scientists, he added.
A letter published by eight Chinese scientists in a June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine said that the bird flu virus was isolated in a 24-year-old man who died in Beijing in 2003.
China is currently one of the worst-hit countries from bird flu. Over 30 cases of bird flu was reported in its poultry, resulting in the culling of over 25 million poultry.