AUSTRALIA TO FUND INDONESIA'S AVIAN FLU EFFORTS
The Australian government is to fund 10,000 doses of Swiss drugmaker Roche's Tamiflu to help fight the outbreak of avian flu in Indonesia. To date, six people have been killed by the disease in Indonesia, with 21 others receiving hospital treatment. Australia has allocated AUD133mn (US$100.77mn) to combat avian flu and SARS in the Asia Pacific region in the past two years.
Some experts claim a pandemic of the H5N1 bird flu strain is virtually inevitable,
and a number of Western governments as well as the World Health Organisation
(WHO) have begun stockpiling vaccines and drugs. As a result, many Asian governments
potentially at the front line in the event of any outbreak of the disease
feel that they are receiving inadequate supplies. Bird flu has killed
64 people in four Asian nations since its first outbreak in 2003, and has already
been found in poultry in Europe and Russia.