Indonesia Still Won't Send WHO Bird Flu Samples

Country demands guarantee any future vaccination will be affordable
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2007 4:14 PM CST
An Indonesian volunteer, right, administers a vaccination to a chicken in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 27. 2007. AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Indonesia won't send avian flu specimens to the World Heath Organization, it said today, continuing a months-long stalemate over assurances that resulting vaccines will be cheap enough for the developing world. The country’s health minister had been in Geneva to rebuild WHO’s virus-sharing system, the AP reports.

"We must have equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of viruses,” the minister said. Indonesia wants to retain intellectual rights to any samples it provides, thereby ensuring an affordable supply. With 91 of 206 known human deaths, Indonesia has had the most human cases of the H5N1 virus, which scientists worry could mutate into a form capable of rapid human-to-human infection.