Thursday, August 09, 2007

WHO Says Indonesia's Refusal To Share Live H5N1 Samples Puts World "At Risk"

The World Health Organisation is still demanding Indonesia hand over recent samples of the live H5N1 virus collected during operations to control bird flu outbreaks. By not doing so, the WHO says, the "entire planet" is being put at risk.

But Jakarta says it is still not happy with agreements that Indonesia will get equal and inexpensive access to any vaccines created from its samples :
Indonesia has yet to resume sharing samples from human bird flu victims with the World Health Organization, jeopardizing not o­nly the Asian nation but the entire planet, the UN health agency said Monday.

David Heymann, the assistant director-general for communicable diseases at WHO, said the agency had received three specimens from Jakarta in May, but none contained any live virus.

"What's important is that all countries share viruses that they isolate from humans," Heymann said.

"By not sharing the viruses, Indonesia is ... putting in danger its own populations, because if those viruses are not freely shared with industry, vaccines will not contain the elements of the Indonesia infections. The second thing that Indonesia is doing is therefore putting the whole world at risk."

Indonesia—the nation hit hardest by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu—stopped sharing its samples with international scientists searching for mutations early this year because Jakarta wanted assurances that any vaccines developed would not be too expensive for developing nations.

It ended its boycott in May, however, after receiving assurances from WHO that the virus samples would be used for risk assessment and not passed o­n to private pharmaceutical companies without Jakarta's permission.

China—which had not shared H5N1 specimens with WHO for almost a year—sent bird flu samples in June. Vietnam has sent samples but has encountered shipping road blocks, Heymann said.

Jakarta Says It Will Not Share New Virus Samples Until A New Agreement Is In Place

Jakarta Warns Of 'Silent' Outbreaks Of Bird Flu In Poultry Stocks - Some Mass Poultry Deaths Believed To Go Unreported - 500,000 Poultry Killed By Bird Flu This Year

No comments: