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Below is a round-up 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 23 June 2007

Indonesian girl tests positive for bird flu
A three-year-old girl from Rumbai in Riau province, Sumatra, has tested positive for bird flu, the Indonesian health ministry has announced. The WHO has yet to confirm the case (source: Reuters).

Egyptian boy tests positive for bird flu
A four-year-old boy from the province of Qena, east Egypt has tested positive for bird flu, according to the Middle East News Agency. The WHO has yet to confirm the case (source: Reuters).

Friday 22 June 2007

Indonesia will use vaccine immediately
The Indonesian health ministry says a vaccine to combat human bird flu could be ready as early as July and the country will use it immediately rather than build up a stockpile as advised by the WHO (source: Reuters).

Lower vaccine doses to 'stretch' stockpiles
Health experts in Hong Kong have recommended lowering the dosage of bird flu vaccines in a pandemic, which they say would 'stretch' limited stockpiles further and reduce overall infection rates (source: Reuters).

Tests confirm H5N1 in Togo
Samples from a poultry farm in Sigbehoue, Togo, sent for testing last week (18 June) confirm the presence of the H5N1 virus (source: Reuters).

Sufficient Tamiflu 'will halve death toll in a pandemic'
Using the antiviral drug Tamiflu to both treat and prevent influenza could halve the death toll in the event of a pandemic, say the drug's makers Roche (source: Reuters).

Thursday 21 June 2007

Second Vietnamese bird flu death in a month
A 28-year-old woman from Vietnam's northern Ha Nam province has died from bird flu (source: Reuters).

Vietnam vaccine trials to begin
The first human trial of a Vietnamese bird flu vaccine will begin next month (July) on 20–30 patients, with assistance from the US government (source: The Standard).

Indonesian H5N1 'less susceptible to Tamiflu'
The H5N1 virus currently circulating in Indonesia is 20–30 times less susceptible to the antiviral drug Tamiflu than strains found in Cambodia two years ago, says an Australian scientist (source: Canadian Press).

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Hope against virus drug resistance
Though influenza viruses are rapidly developing drug resistance, there are still weaknesses that can be exploited, scientists told a conference in Toronto, Canada (source: Reuters).

Tuesday 19  June 2007

Third Ghanaian region hit by bird flu
The H5N1 virus has been found on a poultry farm in the town of Aflao in Ghana, announced Ghana's Veterinary Service Department (source: Agence France-Presse).

WHO: Africa 'unprepared' for bird flu
Africa is experiencing a rapid spread of the H5N1 virus while poorly equipped laboratories, traditional practices and bad surveillance could hamper prevention plans in the event of a pandemic, warns a WHO official (source: The Star).

Tamiflu to face new safety tests
Pharmaceutical company Roche and its Japanese partner, Chugai Pharmaceutical, will conduct fresh clinical trials to investigate a possible link between the antiviral drug Tamiflu and the death and injury of dozens of teenagers with mental disorders in Japan (source: The Guardian).

Monday 18 June 2007

H5N1 enzyme could spark new drugs
Scientists from Taiwan and the United States have developed a new technology to identify changes in a specific H5N1 virus enzyme, which could lead to new drug targets (source: Science Daily).

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