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Indonesia says it plans to use human bird flu vaccine JAKARTA - The vaccine to combat bird flu in humans could be ready as early as July according to Indonesia, adding that it was preparing to use it immediately despite calls from the WHO to build a stockpile first. Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said that the advice of the WHO was not realistic for Indonesia, which has the biggest number of bird flu related deaths.

"WHO urged us to stockpile first. That may work for developed countries, where human cases are yet to appear. But we already have human cases, we are in the middle of a war and we should not be stockpiling anymore," she said. Officials from the WHO declined to comment immediately. The minister told that trials should be finished in a short period so the vaccine, which has been developed together with a unit of U.S. firm Baxter International, should be ready for use in July.

The government and Baxter agreed in February to develop a proper vaccine. Under the agreement, Indonesia supplies the virus specimens, while Baxter is providing the technology to develop the vaccine. "If a cluster like Karo appears, where human-to-human transmission is not immediately clear, Indonesia has the right to go ahead with vaccinations to prevent the spread of the virus," Supari said, referring to an outbreak in Sumatra last year.

The largest known cluster of human bird flu cases worldwide occurred in May 2006 in the Karo district of North Sumatra province, where as many as seven people in an extended family died. The cluster triggered fears the virus had mutated into a form that could spread easily between people.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

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Posted in Bird Flu @ 23 June 2007 09:06 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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