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Indonesia Agrees to Send Bird Flu Samples to WHO


Indonesia has agreed to resume its sharing of bird flu samples with the World Health Organization (WHO), ending a four-month standoff between the two sides.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari told reporters Tuesday that Indonesia trusts the WHO and believes that it will not violate that trust. She was speaking after two days of talks with top WHO officials.

Indonesia refused to share samples of bird flu until it received a guarantee from the WHO that its samples would not be used to make expensive commercial vaccines.

Supari says the two sides have now reached a more fair agreement regarding the use of samples and vaccines.

Indonesia has been the country worst hit by bird flu with more than 60 deaths from the disease.

Scientists use samples of the virus to not only create vaccines, but to monitor the strength of the virus and its evolution.

The most deadly known strain of bird flu, H5N1, has already killed more than 160 people around the world, mostly in Asia.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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