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Indonesia Given A Hand In Bird Flu Fight

Chickens can be major carriers of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.
by Staff Writers
Geelong, Australia (SPX) Nov 10, 2006
CSIRO Livestock Industries is involved in a two-year collaboration to help strengthen Indonesia's defences against the avian influenza virus. With $1.6 million funding from AusAID, veterinarians at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong will work to increase the capacity of Indonesian researchers to diagnose and monitor outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain.

AAHL Assistant Director, Dr Peter Daniels, says the current epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza is a global concern.

"The number of human cases is increasing and there is a small but real possibility that the virus could mutate allowing human-to-human transmission, thereby potentially leading to the world's next major influenza pandemic," he says. "The major contribution of veterinary agencies is to control H5N1 infection in poultry."

Indonesia is working hard to contain outbreaks of 'bird flu', which last year spread to humans. To date 52 people of the 69 infected have died.

Dr Daniels says AAHL will work closely with the Indonesian authorities, guided by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE).

AAHL maintains Australia's capacity for rapid and accurate diagnosis of avian influenza in Australian poultry and birds as well as maintaining a laboratory testing surge capacity.

The secure laboratory at Geelong is internationally recognised as an OIE reference laboratory for avian influenza.

The Indonesian project aims to ensure that the country's laboratory network can rapidly diagnose the bird flu virus - an essential step in mounting effective management and control strategies.

Indonesian laboratories will be provided with training in laboratory tests and their use in surveillance programs. Reagents and reference materials will also be supplied.

Dr Daniels will travel to Indonesia next month to meet with staff from the seven Disease Investigation Centres and the Research Institute for Veterinary Science at Bogor

This project is one of several being undertaken at AAHL which is involved in responding to the threat of bird flu. AAHL staff will continue to visit the Indonesian facilities throughout the project, helping with training and quality assurance. Indonesian laboratory staff will also visit Australia and receive training at AAHL later this month.

Related Links
CSIRO Livestock Industries
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory
The science and news of Epidemics on Earth

Genetically Altered AIDS Retrovirus Has Encouraging Results
Washington (AFP) Nov 07, 2006
A genetically altered AIDS retrovirus that impairs the replication of the HIV virus has shown encouraging results in a small clinical trial, US researchers said in a paper published Monday. Five advanced AIDS patients unresponsive to at least two antiretroviral treatments experienced decreases in viral load and an increase in white blood cell count that boosts the immune system's response to bacterial, viral and fungal infection, the scientists said.

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