Web Zap*Germs Archive

January 19, 2006

Avian Flu Conference Pledges US$1.9 Billion

Concerned about the risk of a worldwide avian-flu pandemic, representatives from world governments attending a conference in Beijing promised to spend nearly US$2 billion to combat the disease. Details from AP include:
The funding conference, co-sponsored by the World Bank, the European Commission and the Chinese government, follows a global bird-flu coordination meeting held two months ago in Geneva, which brought together participants from 100 countries.

The US pledged US$334 million, the second highest amount after the World Bank's US$500 million. The US also said it will invest billions of dollars over the next three years to develop a human vaccine, something medical experts have said cannot be done until the bird flu virus mutates into a human flu virus.

Japan donated US$159 million, China -- which has reported eight human infections, five of which have been fatal -- said it would donate US$10 million.

The spread of the virus from Asia to Turkey, where 21 human infections have been reported, spurred European countries to raise initial commitments.

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said the EU pledged US$121 million, and the bloc's 25 member states pledged about US$138 million in total.

"Never before has humankind had a window of opportunity to prepare for the event of a pandemic before it actually happens," Kyprianou said yesterday.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that fighting bird flu in poultry was the best way to prevent the likelihood of a human flu pandemic.


Post a Comment

<< Home