China withholding avian flu samples

GOOD PARTNER: The CDC has provided the US with samples from last year’s case of a patient who contracted a mutated form of the H7N9 virus that was resistant to drugs

Taipei Times
Date: Sep 03, 2018
By: Wu Liang-yi, Lin CHIA-NAN and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

China has refused requests from the US and other fellow WHO members for more than a year to

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo is pictured in Taipei on July 10.  Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times

provide lab samples from its outbreak of H7N9 avian influenza last year, in contravention of the organization’s regulations, while non-member Taiwan has shared its sole mutated strain of the H7N9 virus with researchers in the US.

WHO regulations stipulate that member states should provide samples and information about diseases that could become pandemic, but media reports say Beijing has been refusing repeated requests made by the US and others, even though this particular strain has killed 40 percent of the people who contracted it, the New York Times reported on Monday last week.

The Times said some US scientists are worried that US-China trade tensions could slow the exchange of medical supplies and information, thereby impeding efforts to prepare for potential biological threats.

At least four US research institutions have been relying on a small group of H7N9 samples from cases in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the newspaper said.    [FULL  STORY]