Monday, January 28, 2008

WHO establishes database for virus sharing

WHO has launched a new electronic database that records all virus samples countries have contributed to the agency since November 2007

"It also will list which other vaccine companies or laboratories around the world
receive them. The system, currently available on the WHO's Web site and still
being developed, notes which countries donated the viruses, test results, and
other information.As of yesterday, the database had 46 entries for viruses collected from around the world. The most recent virus in the database, for example, was a sample
collected by a laboratory in the United Arab Emirates from a falcon infected
with bird flu that the database indicates was shared this month with the St.
Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee."

This is an important step forward, not only for transparency and the ongoing debate about virus sharing and vaccines, but also as a step forward in harnessing mass collaboration to fight flu.

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