Friday, September 29, 2006


From Reuters :

China has shared long-sought samples of the H5N1 bird flu virus, in what many scientists view as a breakthrough in cooperation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.

China has shared samples from human cases...The samples, taken from some of the thousands of wild birds which died in Qinghai Lake in April 2005, have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a WHO collaborating centre in Atlanta, for further analysis, WHO officials said. "

Leading scientists have repeatedly expressed concerns that China was not sharing all genetic data from bird flu cases -- widely seen as vital to track mutations and develop a vaccine against a human pandemic.

"Most people do see it as a breakthrough for cooperation," Perdue told Reuters.

Chinese scientists have published some analyses of the samples, but the CDC is expected to carry out more sophisticated testing with antibodies which will reveal variations of immune responses, according to the WHO expert.

Hualen Chen, head of China's national avian influenza reference laboratory in Harbin, was among 70 scientists worldwide who last month announced the launch of a global body to share genetic bird flu data.

The WHO has confirmed 21 human bird flu cases including 14 deaths in China since November 2005.

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