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Indonesia has stopped sharing its samples of the H5N1 virus with the rest of the world and will instead send them exclusively to a US drug manufacturer.

In an agreement signed between the Indonesian government and Baxter International today (7 February), Indonesia will supply virus samples in return for technical assistance producing a vaccine.

Government officials said the deal would allow Indonesia to retain intellectual property rights over virus strains in the country.

Poor countries have expressed concern that they have given samples of virus for the development of vaccines that they then cannot afford to buy.

The World Health Organization said Indonesia has not shared virus samples since the start of the year.

The country has had the highest number of human deaths due to bird flu, with a total of 60 deaths over the past two years.

Link to full article on BBC online