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WHO Announces Deal on Sharing Bird Flu Virus

an-led draft proposal by developing countries had asked WHO to give H5N1 virus samples to vaccine manufactures only with the consent of the donor country.

But the resolution now worked out only says that "in times of public health emergencies of international concern," manufacturers should be given "full access" to viruses from WHO. Although the text falls short of defining what constitutes a public health emergency, WHO officials said it would apply in the case of a flu pandemic.

News of the deal came as Vietnam announced its first human case of the H5N1 virus since November 2005.

A WHO representative in Vietnam said samples of the virus strain would be sent to its associated labs for analysis.

On Tuesday, Ghana reported that it had found a second confirmed case of the H5N1 virus in the centre of the country, some distance from the first case, discovered at the beginning of May.

Since the H5N1 virus emerged in South East Asia in late 2003, it has claimed more than 180 lives around the world.

Indonesia has been hardest hit, with more than 70 deaths.

Scientists fear the virus could mutate to a form which could be easily passed from human to human, triggering a pandemic.


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