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Ciptapangan Visitor
ASEAN Chooses Singapore To Stockpile Anti-bird Flu Drug
posted by admin on 20/03/07

A stockpile centre

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has chosen Singapore as a regional centre for stockpiling the anti-bird flu drug oseltamivir as part of preparations for a human pandemic, media reports said Monday.

Kamnuan Ungchusak, head of Thailand's Epidemiology Bureau, told the Bangkok Post that ASEAN officials had chosen Singapore last month as a stockpile centre and will confirm the decision at regional meetings on avian influenza to be held next month in Singapore and the Philippines.

Singapore was deemed the most appropriate location for a regional stockpile of oseltamivir because there have been no outbreaks to date of the H5N1 virus among poultry or humans in the city-state.

Bird-flu epidemics have been ravaging poultry populations in other ASEAN countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam since early 2004.

Thailand, where 17 people have died after contracting the disease from poultry, had initially expressed interest in being the regional stockpile centre for oseltamivir but ran into objections from other members.

Oseltamivir is deemed the medication of choice for combatting H5N1 in humans by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Japan last year offered to contribute 1 million doses of the drug for stockpiling in South-East Asia.

© 2007 DPA

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