About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

WHO Urges Global Sharing of Bird Flu Data to Avert Pandemic

by Medindia Content Team on November 22, 2007 at 12:44 PM
Font : A-A+

WHO Urges Global Sharing of Bird Flu Data to Avert Pandemic

The World Health Organisation (WHO) called on its 193 member countries Tuesday to share information about strains of the deadly bird flu virus, warning a pandemic could go worldwide "within months".

Scientists battling the constantly mutating virus have come up against resistance from certain countries, notably Indonesia, to share information without in return being guaranteed access to vaccines.

Advertisement

"We really are all in the same boat," WHO director general Margaret Chan said at the opening of an intergovernmental conference in Geneva.

"A pandemic will reach every corner of the earth and it will do so within a matter of months.

"The sharing of currently circulating viruses is the only way to monitor the emergence of drug-resistant strains."
Advertisement

Indonesia suspended the sharing of its specimens in December 2006, complaining that impoverished countries were giving away examples of their viruses to Western laboratories for free but were then unable to afford the vaccines produced.

It did release samples from four victims to the WHO-led international bird flu monitoring network in August, but is still far from sharing samples from all of its 113 cases of bird flu, 91 of which resulted in death.

Indonesia is the country most affected by the H5N1 bird flu virus, which since 2003 has struck down 335 people in 12 countries, killing 206 of them, according to the latest official WHO figures.

All of those taken ill so far were infected directly by an animal. But the WHO fears the virus will mutate to allow human-to-human transmission, provoking a pandemic like the Spanish flu of 1919 which killed around 40 million people.

Sharing virus specimens is the key to preventing that, urged Chan.

"The sharing of viruses is the foundation of risk assessment. The analysis and the comparison of viruses give us the first clues, the first early warning, that the virus may be evolving in a dangerous way," she said.

Under a proposal submitted to the Geneva conference, Indonesia wants a link between information-sharing and access to vaccines.

Their submission stipulates that "access to virus is provided within the framework of the establishment of a global vaccine stockpile... formulated by the WHO and endorsed by member states."

Indonesia is insisting on "the recognition of sovereign rights of states over their biological resources," stipulating that the "authority to determine access to influenza virus rests with national governments."

In a report to the director general, the WHO suggests a system of advance purchases, or "advance commitment mechanism."

That would allow countries with production capacity for a flu vaccine to agree in advance to release set quantities paid for in advance.

According to the WHO, that would mean that poor countries "would have some guaranteed access to pandemic influenza vaccines."

The WHO hopes that between now and 2010 production of an avian flu vaccine can be ramped up to 4.5 million doses a year.

Source: AFP
SRM/P
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Bird Flu Flu Swine Flu 

Recommended Reading
Bird Flu
Bird flu (avian influenza/avian flu) is a disease caused by an influenza virus (H5N1) that ......
Tamiflu Effective to Treat, Prevent Influenza in Kids Above One Year
A new data has revealed that antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is effective for treatment and ......
Swine Flu
Swine flu, a type of influenza caused by a new strain of the H1N1 Type A influenza virus has origina...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use