Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New: Bird Flu Tracker

Developed by the WHO (World Health Organization), this system helps countries track the H5N1 influenza. It was provided to international laboratories on Tuesday.

The WHO's website hosts an electronic database which presents specimens submitted by each participating country, as well as what specific work was done on each specimin. Other issues of public interest also presented include tests results showing sensitivity and resistance to specific drugs and genetics that have been worked out.

According to the CIDRAP article, "the database is the Geneva-based WHO's response to demands for more transparency in the virus sharing system, a senior official said".

"We were asked to specifically do this, and that's why we've done it," Dr. David Heymann, the WHO's assistant director general for health security and environment, said from Geneva.
"I think it's a reasonable request that countries know where their viruses are going."

Eventually the database will be used to track all influenza viruses that have been submitted to the lab network; but for now its is restricted to H5N1 viruses.



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