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President Bush, Vaccine Makers Hold Discussions on Bird Flu

President Bush has met with representatives of major pharmaceutical companies to discuss ways of fighting a possible bird flu outbreak in humans.

The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, said discussions at Friday's White House meeting focused on the potential of a pandemic and preparedness for such a crisis.

He said the vaccine industry has expressed vigorous support and willingness to help the country prepare.

A White House spokesman said the goal is to expand the currently limited capacity for manufacturing a vaccine and to establish the necessary public health infrastructure.

Separately, the United States hosted an international conference in Washington on Thursday and Friday on ways to prevent an epidemic, including prompt reporting of virus outbreaks and donor funding for affected countries.

Experts warn the bird flu virus could mutate and pass easily among humans, possibly causing a global pandemic.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.