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16 Nations Join Bush Avian Influenza Initiative
September 15, 2005
They include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, Cambodia, New Zealand, India, Nigeria, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.
The United States and Canada are to hold talks at the senior official and ministerial levels soon to devise strategies to combat the problem.
"In the coming weeks, we plan to hold a senior officials meeting of all partners in Washington to identify steps to achieve transparency, to improve donor coordination, to build capacity and develop containment strategies," US Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky said at the fringes of the UN summit.
"This is to implement the core principles (of the Bush initiative)," she said.
The above list of 16 countries that have signed onto the Bush initiative is a good start. The list includes all countries with reported human H5N1 bird flu cases, as well as many under immediate threat of new or continued H5N1 wild bird flu. In the upcoming weeks, as H5N1 expands its geographical range, the number of member countries is likely to grow.
Although details have yet to be released, the transparency and donor coordination are essential and required, so the initiative can quickly generate improvements.
Time is running short, so the sooner the better for implementing the rules and procedures.
The United States has an ongoing NIAID program that will sequence complete genomes and should be pressed into action with this initiative. It is important to not only collect H5N1 from domestic poultry and people, but wild birds will provide important clues on how H5N1 moves around the global and what types of recombinations are to be anticipated. These data are most useful with a complete sequence of all eight genes, which has been streamlined by TIGR (The Institute for Genome Research).