Infectious Diseases 2008

Infectious Diseases 2008

Avian Influenza -afflicted countries have shared >700 viruses with WHO labs: report

WHO 22 January, 2008

Between 2003 and 2007, Member States shared 8763 human and animal specimens from avian influenza A(H5N1) suspected/confirmed cases with WHO (Data provided in the file attached). From these specimens, 734 viruses were isolated and maintained in WHO laboratories. Based on these viruses, 13 viruses have been selected for further development into A(H5N1) vaccine viruses. Those viruses came from China (2), Indonesia (1), Vietnam (3), Cambodia (1), Turkey (1), Hong Kong (4) and Mongolia (1).  So far, 8 reverse genetics engineered vaccine viruses, suitable for vaccine development and production, are available for distribution. 292 institutions have received one or more of the 8 WHO selected and developed vaccine viruses, and 46 institutions have received wild type vaccine viruses.

Of 734 viruses currently stored in WHO labs, 171 were provided by Indonesia, the country which for the past year has been at the centre of a standoff over access to viruses. China, thought to be the birthplace of the H5N1 virus, has provided 22 viruses to the WHO network, 20 in 2006 and two in 2007. Its special administrative region, Hong Kong, has provided another four.

Indonesia provided more than half of all the samples - 4,774 - but only 171 of those specimens yielded viruses. Most of those specimens were provided in 2005, the first year Indonesia recorded human cases, and in 2006.

In 2007, Indonesia sent 62 specimens to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and three to the WHO's collaborating centre in Tokyo, Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases. None of the specimens sent to Japan yielded viruses, though CDC labs were able to isolate 13.

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