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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.

Tuesday 29 August 2006

South Korea invited to make H5N1 vaccine in Thailand  
Thailand's labour minister has encouraged a South Korean pharmaceutical company to invest in developing a bird flu vaccine in Thailand, as it is not allowed to do so at home (Source: TNA).

Chinese human bird flu vaccine declared safe, effective
Small, preliminary clinical tests show that a bird flu vaccine for human use developed by Chinese researchers is safe and effective, researchers said on Monday (Source: Xinhua).

Monday 28 August 2006

Microchip cuts bird flu diagnosis wait to 12 hours
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed an influenza test that takes less than 12 hours, down from the current seven days; the test can identify which strain of flu is present in a sample (Source: New York Times).

Sunday 27 August 2006

Vietnam finds H5N1 virus on duck farm
Vietnam, which has been free of human bird flu cases this year, has found the H5N1 virus on a small duck farm, animal health officials said on Monday (Source: Reuters).

Scientists closer to understanding flu virus evolution
About 52 key genetic changes distinguish avian influenza strains from those that spread easily among people, according to researchers in Taiwan who analyzed the genes of more than 400 A- type flu viruses (Source: Bloomberg).

Saturday 26 August 2006

S. Africa to cull waterfowl to prevent bird flu 
Millions of rands worth of waterfowl belonging to Hilko Insel, South Africa's largest fowl breeder, are being culled because of fears that they may carry a strain of bird flu (Source: Xinhua).

Friday 25 August 2006

Vietnam, Laos cooperate in bird flu control
Vietnam and Laos have agreed to cooperate in the fight against bird flu and emerging infectious diseases till 2010 (Source: VNA).

Scientists get US$1.3m for recombinant bird flu vaccine
University of Pittsburgh researchers have received a US$1.3 million federal grant to begin the process of testing a promising bird flu vaccine (Source: Pittsburgh Tribune Review).

Three Indonesians hospitalised for suspected bird flu
Three Indonesians from Central Sulawesi were admitted to hospital on Friday bird flu symptoms; the Indonesian vice president demanded more international funds and expertise to check the spread of the virus (Source: Xinhua).

Thursday 24 August 2006

Scientists call for bird flu secrets to be shared
Openly sharing scientific data is the only way to defeat the bird flu virus, say health officials and scientists in a plea to researchers worldwide. (Source: SciDev.Net)

World Bank urges Indonesia to raise bird flu budget
Indonesian plans to reduce its budget for bird flu control to US$46 million in 2007 prompted the World Bank to again urge the government to increase its budget for the bird flu programme  (Source: Reuters).

60th bird flu case in Indonesia; WHO urges sequence sharing
Following confirmation that a six-year-old Indonesian girl was the country's 60th case of H5N1 infection, the WHO encouraged countries to share H5 virus sequence information (Source: ANTARA news).

Bird flu suspect in Indonesia gets intensive treatment
A resident of North Sumatra, is receiving intensive treatment after being admitted to hospital with bird flu symptoms on Tuesday last week (Source: Antara News).

Vietnam to establish anti-bird flu task forces
Vietnam will form anti-bird flu task forces at both central and local levels to stamp out any disease outbreaks, according to local newspaper People's Army (Source: Xinhua).

Door-to-door campaign against bird flu in rural Thailand
A door-to-door campaign against bird flu has been launched and 800,000 health volunteers will be sent to rural areas to educate people on how to prevent outbreaks of the virus (Source: Xinhua).

Wednesday 23 August 2006

Conference looks at ways of tackling bird flu
At an international conference yesterday, the deputy chief of the Pasteur Institute's department of microbiology and immunology said Vietnam is developing an "innovative technology" to produce its own bird flu vaccine from chicken embryos (Source: Taipei Times).

CDC releases blueprints of flu viruses
US health officials have placed the genetic blueprints of more than 650 flu viruses into a public database in an attempt to increase research and set an example for other nations (Source: AP).

Vietnam launches second round of poultry vaccination 
Vietnam yesterday kicked off the second round of a nationwide poultry vaccination campaign to fend off the possible year-end recurrence of bird flu (Source: Saigon Times).

Thailand launches mobile lab to detect bird flu
Thailand's public health ministry has introduced a state-of-the art mobile laboratory capable of detecting bird flu in samples in four hours (Source: TNA).

South African hospitals put bird flu plan in place
Durban hospitals are implementing stringent measures to counter a possible bird flu outbreak (Source: IOL).

World Bank urges more funds for culls in Indonesia
The World Bank called for better compensation of Indonesian farmers whose poultry is culled (Source: Reuters).

Tuesday 22 August 2006

Rich nations should share bird flu drugs and vaccines
Public health experts have called on wealthier nations to share scarce antiviral drugs and vaccines with poorer countries in Asia (Source: Reuters).

Bird flu patients 'need testing before starting drugs'
Bird flu may go undetected in patients who took antiviral drugs days before being tested because treating the virus may mask infection, says a study by the Oxford University clinical research unit in Ho Chi Minh City (Source: Bloomberg).

China, Japan join forces against bird flu
The governments of China and Japan said they will join forces against bird flu and other infectious diseases through an exchange of information and studies (Source: All Headline News).

Monday 21 August 2006

Celera Genomics gets US$0.9m to develop bird flu test
The Celera Genomics Group has been awarded a US$900,000 grant by the US National Institutes of Health to develop and commercialise a test for avian flu (Source: AFX).