News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Europe must coordinate its response to common health threats

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 13 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:864
  1. Tessa Richards
  1. BMJ

    European governments must prepare for a pandemic of avian influenza that could strike at any time, warned Markos Kyprianou. The European Union commissioner for health spoke at a press conference held last week during the European Health Forum Gastein, a health “think tank” that meets annually in Bad Gastein in Austria.

    “Getting sufficient vaccine presents a major challenge,” he said. “Industry needs financial incentives to increase its output. We have set up a public-private partnership to do this, and EU member states should make use of it now by entering into prepurchase agreements for a vaccine.”

    Discussions of fast track approval of a vaccine by the European Medicines Agency are underway, he said, and the EU is contributing to international efforts to help deal with the source of the infection in South East Asia.

    Preparations for the arrival of avian flu became more urgent at the weekend when it was announced that infected birds had been discovered in Turkey and Romania. Results of tests to establish if the cases are of the H5N1 strain, …

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