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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.

Monday 7 November 2005

Major conference on bird flu begins in Geneva
A three-day meeting of UN bodies, policymakers and scientists to plan a common response to the bird flu threat begins today in Switzerland (Source: Xinhua).

China punishes companies for faking bird flu vaccine
Chinese authorities are reported to have punished 13 companies to making and selling fake vaccines against bird flu (Source. Xinhua).

Sunday 6 November 2005

China culls six million birds
China has culled six million birds in a region hit by the country's fourth outbreak of bird flu in a month (Source: Reuters).

China asks WHO to help assess role of bird flu in recent deaths
China's health ministry has asked the World Health Organization for help to assess whether bird flu has caused human deaths there (Source: Xinhua / PRNewsire).

Saturday 5 November 2005

World Bank pledges up to US$500 million to fight bird flu
The World Bank said it was finalising plans to provide up to US$500 million to help poor countries fight bird flu (Source: AP / Mainichi).

Thailand to make its own Tamiflu to fight bird flu
Thailand says it will start making its own version of the flu drug Tamiflu by February 2006 (Source: Channel News Asia).

Indonesia confirms fifth human bird flu death
An Indonesian woman who died in October had bird flu, making her the country's fifth victim of the disease, a health ministry official has revealed (Source: Reuters).

Friday 4 November 2005

UN bird flu summit must answer five key questions
An editorial in The Lancet highlights five key questions facing a major international summit on bird flu hosted by UN agencies and the World Bank (Source: The Lancet).

New bird flu outbreaks hit Asia
New outbreaks of bird flu reported in China and Vietnam (Source: BBC Online).

Experts question wisdom of stockpiling Tamiflu
Health experts say that plans to stockpile the flu drug Tamiflu are misguided as there is no evidence that it can prevent infections or save lives (Source: British Medical Journal).

Thursday 3 November 2005

Kofi Annan says bird flu threatens Asian, African way of life
UN secretary general Kofi Annan says bird flu could put an end to traditional ways of life in Asia and Africa, where people commonly live in close contact with domestic animals (Source: Reuters).

China orders more bird flu vaccine research
China has called for tighter monitoring of bird flu and more intensive vaccine research (Source: Associated Press).

Asia 'not hiding bird flu cases'
Scientists from the UK Medical Research Council say there is no evidence of China and Vietnam failing to report cases of bird flu in people (Source: BBC Online).

Bird flu 'could devastate Africa'
Veterinary experts from across Africa warned on Thursday that an avian-flu outbreak could prove devastating to the continent because of the poor facilities and inadequate monitoring capacity in many countries (Source: Mail and Guardian Online).

World Bank warns of bird flu cost
A flu pandemic would lead to "enormous global costs" for the world economy, says the World Bank (Source: BBC Online).

South-East Asian nations join forces against bird flu
As five South-East Asian nations will work together more closely to fight bird flu, Thailand has offered to set up a regional stockpile of anti-flu drugs (Source: Reuters).

China allocates US$246 million for bird flu control
The Chinese government has set aside 2 billion yuan (US$246.6 million) to face the threat of bird flu outbreaks (Source:

Wednesday 2 November 2005

Drug combination 'could double Tamiflu supplies'
Combining the flu drug Tamiflu — currently in short supply — with another drug would allow twice as many patients to be treated in a human flu pandemic, say researchers (Source: Nature).

Tuesday 1 November 2005

Rich nations urged to do more in fight against bird flu
Wealthy nations and donor agencies should provide US$260 million to international bodies so they can help developing countries in Asia fight bird flu, says the World Health Organization's regional director for the western Pacific (Source: SciDev.Net).

People, not environment, blamed for Thai bird flu outbreaks
Research from Thailand suggests that the illegal movement of poultry – and not environmental factors – is behind fresh outbreaks of bird flu there (Source: Bangkok Post).

Scientists develop faster way to make bird flu vaccine
Scientists say they have found a faster way to make a bird flu vaccine should an outbreak among humans ever occur (Source: BBC Online).

Asia-Pacific to stage mock outbreak of bird flu
Countries in the Asia-Pacific region plan to to stage a mock outbreak of bird flu next year to help prepare for a human flu pandemic (Source: HeraldNewsDaily.Com).

Monday 31 October 2005

GM chickens 'might resist bird flu'
UK scientists are genetically modifying chickens to protect them against the H5N1 bird flu virus (Source: The Times).

Thailand has 20th bird flu victim
A woman in Thailand has been diagnosed with bird flu, according to a health ministry official (Source: AP /

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