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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 01/19/2006
CHINA
There is no evidence that Tamiflu works against bird flu
Flu experts say they found no documented evidence that the drug Tamiflu is effective. In Beijing the world pledges US$ 1.9 billion in the battle against the virus. More outbreaks and deaths in China and Turkey have been announced.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – There is no credible evidence that Tamiflu works against the H5N1virus, but donors' conference raises US$ 1.9 billion to fight the outbreak.

In an article published in The Lancet medical journal today, researchers from the Cochrane Vaccines Field in Rome and the University of Queensland in Australia warn against over-reliance on Tamiflu. Focus should be on implementing quarantine measures and improving personal hygiene.

The researchers found that older antiviral drugs such as amantadine and rimantadine should not be used because they are ineffective and can cause adverse side effects such as hallucinations.

Yet, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is recommending governments stockpile Tamiflu even though the usefulness of the expensive measure is increasingly coming under criticism.

For Malik Peiris, professor of microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, "[i]t is important that [. . .] people should not be panicking and taking these pills left right and centre."

"Tamiflu and Relenza," he said, "do shorten the course of the illness by one and half days or so. [But] it is not something dramatically different".

Meanwhile, the conference on the avian flu in Beijing ended with some 120 countries and organisations pledging US$ 1.9 billion to a global fund to fight the disease. The US will contribute US$ 334 million, the European Union, 250 million, and Japan, another 155 million. The money will go to prevention and to improve health services for people and animals. For poor countries, the aid is essential. Not only do they lack the resources to cope with the emergency but they are also the hardest hit.

About US$ 1 billion will go to poor countries in South-East Asia, where the virus has become endemic, and in other parts of the world such as Africa. The other 900 million will be available as loans for short-term and long-term programmes.

China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Turkey will benefit the most. Indonesia alone has asked for half a billion dollars to cull poultry at risk and compensate farmers.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao urged rich countries to open their wallets to beat the disease. China itself will spend US$ 10 million, the highest contribution for a developing country.

Countries participating in the conference also endorsed a Beijing Declaration, agreeing to "take further co-ordinated actions to strengthen disease surveillance and diagnostics, develop much-needed capacity in human and veterinary healthy systems, increase public awareness and address social and economic impacts".

The UN coordinator on avian and human influenza David Nabarro said resources were needed immediately because animal health services around the world are not strong enough to monitor bird flu outbreaks effectively and cull poultry flocks.

Margaret Chan, top WHO pandemic expert, told the conference that the cost of acting now was "peanuts" compared to the potential losses in the event of a pandemic.

According to the World Bank (WB), the economic cost to the world's economy of any pandemic could reach as much as US$ 800 billion and cause millions of dead.

"Past outbreaks have already cost more than $10 billion in economic losses," said WB Chairman Paul Wolfowitz.

China. A 35-year-old woman—who raised poultry in the village of Zhoujia, in the south-western province of Sichuan—probably died of the disease which she had contracted on January 3. The death, if confirmed, would take China's toll to six.

Iraq. Tests into the death of a 14-year-old girl who died on January 17 in Sulaimaniya are pending. She fell ill in Raniya, an area that receives migratory birds from neighbouring Turkey.

Syria. Birds in towns near the north-eastern border with Turkey have been culled and destroyed.

Turkey. The country's 21st case of bird flu in humans has been confirmed; it involves a four-year-old boy from the Dogubayazit district in the eastern province of Agri. Tests are underway on an 11-year-old girl from Mus province who died in Erzurum. (PB)


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See also
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WHO urges China to share H5N1 virus samples
10/21/2005 CHINA
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Bird flu: Beijing must designate a focal point to immediately inform the WHO
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Bird flu: Hong Kong stops poultry imports from Sichuan
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WHO: China may have unidentified bird flu outbreaks
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Sixth human case of bird flu in China
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Farmer who blew the whistle on bird flu outbreak is arrested
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WHO urges China to share H5N1 virus samples
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Bird flu kills again in Indonesia
HONG KONG - CHINA
Bird flu 38 times more infectious than SARS
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Bird flu: "Impossible" for China to vaccinate 14 billion birds
Vietnam
New human bird flu case confirmed in Vietnam
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SOUTH KOREA – APEC
Asia-Pacific Rim leaders urge common action against avian flu
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CHINA - VIETNAM
China admits to first human case of bird flu
ASIA – CHINA
Avian flu: China might not be reporting every outbreak
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China admits to three possible human cases of bird flu
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Pandemic would be a disaster for Asia's economy
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Bird flu in China very serious, say official sources
VIETNAM - CHINA
Two more bird flu deaths feared in Vietnam
CHINA – ASIA
In China no information about the dangers of the avian flu
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Suspected new cases of bird flu in humans in China and Thailand
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More birds infected in China but world leaders have few suggestions
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Pandemic inevitable, say experts from around the world meeting in Canada
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Bird flu: China and Thailand want tighter controls on bird farming and human housing
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Beijing acknowledges bird flu situation is grave
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Bird flu spreads and claims new victim in Thailand
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Alarm bells sound in the West but the frontline against the bird flu is in Asia
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Asian battleground key to beating bird flu virus
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China: an incubator of bird flu
ASIA - EUROPE
World ill-prepared to face bird flu pandemic
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Suspect death in Jakarta fuels global bird flu fears
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Bird flu: Ankara tries to allay western fears
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Avian flue pandemic could kill up to 300 million people
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Indonesia's bird flu toll is rising
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Bird Flu: Are there risks, cures?

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