Avian Flu :: Sharing of avian influenza viruses and pandemic vaccine production

This statement is the result of a meeting today between the Minister of Health of Indonesia Siti Fadillah Supari, and Dr David Heymann, WHO Acting Assistant Director-General for Communicable Diseases.

During the meeting, they discussed the sharing of influenza viruses with the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres for Influenza.

Indonesia?s leadership alerted the international community to the needs of developing countries to benefit from sharing virus samples, including access to quality pandemic vaccines at affordable prices. The Minister of Health recognizes that both short-term and long-term solutions are needed for countries such as Indonesia to strengthen their capacity to protect themselves against threats such as pandemic influenza. In the short term, Indonesia will pursue discussions with vaccine production companies to meet its vaccine needs. WHO fully supports this. In the long term, Indonesia is working with WHO to develop its local vaccine production capacity through technology transfer. Both WHO and the Ministry of Health of Indonesia agree that local capacity to produce vaccines is the long term solution to ensuring availability and access to influenza pandemic vaccine.

The Minister expressed her appreciation that WHO will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to strengthen its laboratory capacity for emerging infections such as H5N1.

The Minister agrees that the responsible, free and rapid sharing of influenza viruses with WHO, including H5N1, is necessary for global public health security and will resume sharing viruses for this purpose. WHO will continue discussions and work with the Ministry of Health and other countries to assess and develop potential mechanisms, including Material Transfer Agreements, that could promote equitable distribution and availability of pandemic influenza vaccines developed and produced from these viruses.

To this end, WHO and the Ministry of Health have jointly decided to convene a meeting of selected countries in the Asia and Pacific region to identify mechanisms for equitable access to influenza vaccine and production.

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