Indonesia witholds bird flu samples

Indonesia has refused to share bird flu samples with the WHO, unless a legally binding agreement is provided promising the virus will not be used to develop an expensive commercial vaccine.

Indonesia witholds bird flu samples

Indonesiahas refused to share bird flu samples with the WHO, unless a legallybinding agreement is provided promising the virus will not be used to developan expensive commercial vaccine.

Indonesia'shealth minister said on Tuesday that a signed letter of guarantee was notsufficient and that Indonesiarequired a Material Transfer Agreement.

Siti Fadilah Supari, the health minister, said: "Wewill not share the virus before there is a Material Transfer Agreement."

She said that she hoped one would be drafted during a birdflu meeting in Jakartalater in March between Asia Pacific health officials and the World HealthOrganisation.

Indonesiaand the WHO have been in a standoff over the issue for a number of weeks with Suparisaying that a letter of agreement signed by Margaret Chan, the WHO's directorgeneral, would not be sufficient.

Last month Indonesiasigned a deal with US-based Baxter Healthcare Corp to develop a human vaccinefor the virus and the Indonesian government said it would only resumecooperation with the WHO if the body stopped providing samples to othercommercial vaccine makers.

Indonesiasays it is worried that drug companies will use its bird flu samples, sent toWHO affiliated laboratories, to make vaccines that developing nations will notbe able to afford.

Several countries are developing vaccines to protect againstH5N1, the strain of the virus blamed for 167 human deaths worldwide, more thana third of which were in Indonesia.

The virus remains mainly an animal disease, but experts areconcerned it may mutate into a form that easily spreads between humans,potentially killing millions

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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