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Roche Commits More Antiviral Pills To Asia For Bird Flu

At a meeting to assess the bird flu situation in the light of the new cases in Turkey, Roche Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Tamiflu said that it// will allot more antiviral pills to Asia and provide the necessary aid to organizations in this endeavour to fight a possible pandemic.

Roche said that it was currently in talks with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the donation of more of the medicine, which is thought to be the best antidote to the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. David Reddy, Roche's flu pandemic taskforce leader said that they had already allotted 30 million capsules to the WHO's rapid response stockpile. Scientists maintain that so far there has not been any mutation in the H5N1 virus and it remains hard for people to catch. The only way is through close contact with birds. All this could rapidly change if a mutation does occur.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that it is preparing a new grant aid facility to help countries in the event of a pandemic. "We expect the $38 million grant assistance which we are preparing now to be approved by the ADB board by the end of next month," said Jacques Jeugmans, ABD's main health specialist. The official tally of human cases as revealed by the WHO is 147 with 78 deaths so far.

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