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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.

Saturday 30 September 2006

Vietnam to open its first international standard lab
Vietnam's first international-standard laboratory, funded by Japan, is set to begin operations in Hanoi from October; the lab will test for H5N1 (Source: Thanhnien News).

High doses of new bird flu drug found safe
A new drug to fight both bird flu and seasonal flu can be given safely to people in very high doses, according to the company developing it; peramivir is still in trials but is considered the next-line drug to fight bird flu after Tamiflu and Relenza (Source: Reuters).

China reports new H5N1 bird flu outbreak
A new outbreak of H5N1 flu has killed 985 chickens in China's northern region of Inner Mongolia, a state news agency reported (Source: Associated Press).

Friday 29 September 2006

Sister of Indonesia bird flu casualty also has H5N1
A 21-year-old Indonesian woman from East Java, the sister of an 11-year-old boy who died of bird flu earlier this month, is also suffering from the disease, the health ministry said (Source: Reuters).

Up to 25% of Indonesia's domestic birds 'may have bird flu'
Bird flu may have infected a quarter of backyard fowl in some of Indonesia's most densely populated areas, the country's top veterinary official said following random tests in areas where the virus is prevalent (Source: Bloomberg).

Thursday 28 September 2006

China firm to sell cheap version of Glaxo bird flu drug
GlaxoSmithKline Plc said it had signed an agreement for Simcere Pharmaceutical Group of Nanjing, China, to make and sell a cheap version of its flu drug Relenza for use in poor countries (Source: Reuters).

China shares bird flu samples in 'breakthrough' - WHO
China has shared long-sought after samples of the H5N1, taken from some of the thousands of wild birds which died in Qinghai Lake in April 2005, in what many scientists view as a breakthrough in cooperation, the WHO said (Source: Reuters).

1918 flu virus's secrets revealed
A reconstruction of the deadly 1918 flu virus has given new insight into how the infection took hold, showing it triggered a severe immune system reaction (Source: BBC Online).

Indonesia's bird flu death toll rises to 52
A 20-year-old Indonesian man in Bandung, West Java who was diagnosed with bird flu earlier this week has died, taking Indonesia's death toll from the disease to 52 (Source: Reuters).

WHO: 'new drugs needed to deal with bird flu'
New drugs are needed to treat the H5N1 strain of bird flu because of the possibility that it could mutate and develop resistance to the most effective anti-viral medicines, a WHO scientist said (Source: Associated Press).

Zimbabwe on high alert to curb bird flu outbreaks
Zimbabwe is still free from avian influenza but remains on high alert to curb any possible outbreaks, with a multi-sectoral taskforce in place to monitor the situation, a cabinet minister said (Source: Xinhua).

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Egypt: new case of bird flu detected in rural area
Ministry of Health officials and WHO staff confirmed another outbreak of avian flu in birds in Egypt; infected birds were found in a house near Aswan (Source: Reuters).

Two latest H5N1 cases push WHO count to 251
The WHO confirmed reports of two more human H5N1 cases: a 20-year-old Indonesian man who is part of a suspected case cluster in Bandung, West Java, and a 59-year-old farmer from northeastern Thailand (Source: CIDRAP).

Hong Kong officials seize 6,000 chickens smuggled from China
Hong Kong officials have seized about 6,000 live chickens being smuggled into the territory from mainland China, the government said (Source: Associated Press).

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Nine tests failed to detect H5N1, doctors reveal
The H5N1 virus in a 59-year-old Thai man who died on 10 August was not detected until an autopsy was conducted on tissue taken from his lungs and faeces, says official (Source: The Nation).

Reducing the time it takes to find herbal treatment for bird flu
Researchers in Thailand are using an Internet database of herbal extracts to see whether a certain substances suppress H5N1 in humans
(Source: The Nation).

Indonesia probes possible bird flu cluster
Indonesia is investigating a possible cluster of bird flu cases after a 25-year-old man died in Bandung, West Java, on Sunday; his 20-year-old brother is said to also has the virus (Source: Reuters).

Monday 25 September 2006

WHO confirms two more H5N1 cases in Indonesia
The WHO today recognised two more cases of H5N1 in Indonesia in two boys aged 9 and 11 who died of the illness last week, bringing Indonesia's toll to 67 cases and 51 deaths (Source: CIDRAP).

Initial human trials of bird flu vaccine in Russia a success
The first Russian trials of a human vaccine against H5N1 was a success, a Russian research institute member said (Source: Novosti).

WHO pandemic task force meets for the first time
Members of an international pandemic flu task force met for the first time this week to discussed how to advise the WHO if a global outbreak strikes (Source: Canadian Press).

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