China is putting procedures in place to provide samples of bird flu viruses to international health authorities – a step that is in line with international trends towards sharing all available information on the virus.
China has not provided international health agencies with samples of bird flu viruses found in the country since 2004.
Scientific analyses of bird flu samples are important because they help experts trace the evolution of viruses and the geographical spread of any particular strain.
“When viral strains cross international borders, special protocols are needed and we are working to complete those,” said vice director of the Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary department, Li Jinxiang.
Li said Beijing wanted “to conform to WHO (World Health Organisation) standards for international transfers”.
Though China has not submitted bird flu samples since late 2004, it has regularly reported results of its laboratory tests, including genetic information, to international bodies, Li added.
In related news, many top scientists have called for the establishment of a consortium to share AI virus sequence information, in the hope that this will lead to better treatments for the disease.