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  • Bird flu update: 4 December 2007

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Below is a roundup of the key developments on the spread of the bird flu virus (H5N1) and the threat it poses to human health. Each title is a link to the full article.

Click here to see the latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures of confirmed human cases.

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30 November–3 December 2007
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Chinese man dies from bird flu
A 24-year-old Chinese man from the coastal province of Jiangsu has died from H5N1 bird flu, state media report (source: Xinhua).

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22–29 November 2007
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WHO fails to reach bird flu sharing agreement
Talks at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, failed to come up with a system to ensure developing nations benefit from vaccines developed from their shared bird flu virus samples (source: Reuters).

Indonesia demands 'material transfer agreement'
Indonesia has demanded a 'material transfer agreement' specifiying that any virus samples it shares would be used only for diagnostic purposes and not commercial gain. Any commercial use of the virus would require prior consent of the country providing it, with the country retaining intellectual property rights and access to global vaccine stockpiles at an affordable price (source: Reuters).

'Psychiatric warning' for Tamiflu and Relenza
Psychiatric episodes have been observed in some patients taking the Tamiflu and Relenza anti-flu drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration have warned (source: Reuters).

Japan gives bird flu laboratory to Indonesia
The Japanese government has given Indonesia a US$1.7 million laboratory to  fight bird flu. The 'international-standard' laboratory is located in Surabaya, East Java (source: Mathaba News Agency).

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14–21 November 2007
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Baxter-Indonesia vaccine passes clinical trial
Baxter International, the private US-based company working with the Indonesian government using its bird flu virus samples, announced that its two-dose experimental vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials (source: Bloomberg).

Saudi Arabia culls 50,000 birds
Saudi Arabia has culled 50,000 birds after the H5N1 virus was discovered at a poultry farm in the capital of Riyadh (source: Reuters).

Asia-pacific should have own vaccines stockpiles
Laurie Garrett and David P. Fidler argue that a stockpile of H5N1 vaccine for Asia-Pacific countries will counter virus-sharing problems.

India 'rid of bird flu'
The World Organisation of Animal Health has declared India 'free of bird flu' (source: Times of India).

Yemen: Bird flu warning issued
Yemeni officials are worried about a potential outbreak of bird flu. Tests on one recent case were limited due to lack of resources (source: IRIN).

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6–13 November 2007
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WHO confirms Indonesian death
A 31-year-old male from the Riau province on Sumatra, Indonesia, died [JAN add link: ] from H5N1 bird flu, the WHO has confirmed (source: WHO). 

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