08 February 2007

Indonesia Hoards Bird 'Flu "Intellectual Property"

You had any doubts about whether intellectual monopolies were a good thing? Try this:

Indonesia is refusing to provide bird flu samples to other countries, companies and the World Health Organisation. Scientists and the WHO have expressed serious concerns about the ban, which they say hampers efforts to avoid a pandemic.

The move could set a precedent for international efforts to control the spread of viruses. Until now, countries have shared virus samples with the WHO, which then provides them to vaccine manufacturers.

In a highly unusual display of patriotism, the Health Minister, Siti Fadillah Supari, claimed Indonesia "owns" the bird flu strain which has spread across the nation, infecting tens of millions of chickens and killing at least 63 people.

Yesterday's announcement of a deal with the pharmaceutical company Baxter comes shortly after Indonesia condemned an Australian research breakthrough that could result in the production of a vaccine within months.

So as the cytokine storm kicks in, and you slowly drown in the fluid that was your lungs, hold on to this comforting thought: you and those you love may die, but the sacred IP virus will live on. (Via Technocrat.)

No comments: