Indonesia refuses to hand virus samples to WHO…

November 28, 2008

Indonesia’s Decision to Withhold Influenza A Virus (H5N1) Samples

This controversy began toward the end of 2006, when Indonesia decided not to share influenza A virus (H5N1) samples with WHO for risk assessment (e.g., surveillance) or risk management (e.g., vaccine development) purposes. Indonesia’s decision reportedly stemmed from its reaction to an Australian company’s development of an avian influenza vaccine derived from a virus strain that Indonesia provided to WHO (3). WHO’s acknowledgment that patents had been sought on modified versions of influenza (H5N1) samples shared through the Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN) without the consent of the countries that supplied the samples reinforced Indonesia’s discontent. Indonesia argued that this incident exposed inequities in the global influenza surveillance system. Developing countries provided information and virus samples to the WHO-operated system; pharmaceutical companies in industrialized countries then obtained free access to such samples, exploited them, and patented the resulting products, which the developing countries could not afford. Avian influenza’s spread and fears about pandemic influenza heightened this perceived inequity; experts argued that developing countries would have little access to vaccine for pandemic influenza without major changes in global vaccine production (4,5).

Rest of detail here >

http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/14/1/88.htm

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