In a move clearly designed to put pressure on Asian countries to release the sequences of lethal H5N1 viruses, the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. has posted some 650 flu virus sequences on a public database. That U.S. database included only the seasonal and animal viruses identified inside the U.S. The CDC wants Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China to follow suit with public postings of their own. Indonesia recently agreed to disseminate sequencing data. So far, the sequences are held by the World Health Organization, which in turn considers the data to belong to the countries. Some of the countries say they resent the fact that if they make the sequences available, the information can be used by private drug developers to create new vaccines that can then be sold to them. Individual researchers, meanwhile, have been accused of hoarding sequencing data until they can publish their own work on the different strains of H5N1 that have appeared.
- here's the article on bird flu from The New York Times
PLUS: A group of top flu experts have joined to call for the creation of a new database on bird flu that would promote research efforts everywhere. Article (WSJ sub. req.)