Extract from The Lancet 17 February 2007 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue?issue=9561&volume=369
Global solidarity needed in preparing for pandemic influenzaWHO should seek an international agreement to ensure developing countries have access to a pandemic influenza vaccine at an affordable price, according to an Editorial. Last week, Indonesia, fearing that vaccines produced from their viruses via the WHO system would not be affordable to them, made a controversial decision not to share its H5N1 virus samples with WHO...... Full Text
March 5 2007 ~ Backyard poultry farmers across the globe are facing utter poverty.
Some are committing suicide and some are dying from the virus itself. While many in Britain are still reeling from the news that the Bernard Matthews plant is in line for massive compensation, the poor countries, without proper resources, really are floundering. Indonesia's decision to withhold human bird flu virus samples from the World Health Organization has caused international gasps of horror, but The Lancet has called Indonesia's actions "understandable." There have been 63 human deaths from H5N1 in Indonesia. The Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, says she is waiting for a promise from the U.N. agency that any new specimens sent will not be used for commercial vaccines ( likely to be too expensive for Indonesia to buy) adding that she has no problem sending viruses to be studied if they will not be used commercially. The WHO has given no such undertaking.
Last January the US and donor nations pledged more than $2 billion for Bird Flu but last June just $286 million had actually been spent to fight it. Both Dr. David Nabarro, senior UN system co-ordinator for avian and human influenza and Dr. Joseph Domenech, head of the FAO's animal health service deplored the shortfall of funds saying agencies were being "run ragged".
The Lancet says "The fairest way forward would be for WHO to seek an international agreement that would ensure that developing countries have equal access to a pandemic vaccine, at an affordable price."
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