report: Global fight against bird
; GENEVA, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's
Minister of Health Gao Qiang on Thursday refuted a report by the U.S. National
Academy of Sciences that a new strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus has emerged in
Researchers from Hong Kong and the United States
reported in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
that a new strain of H5N1 called the "Fujian-like virus," first isolated in the
southern Chinese province of Fujian in 2005, has become prevalent in China's
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand.
At a press conference in Geneva, Gao rejected the
report, saying its data are false and its claims "lack scientific proof."
He said profound research and analysis by Chinese
experts showed that the report's conclusions were not in conformity with the
reality of the avian flu situation in China.
"The so-called 'Fujian-like virus' is not a new
variant of the H5N1 virus," he said. "Gene sequence analysis of the virus shows
that it shares high conformity with the H5N1 virus that was isolated in Hunan
Province when bird flu broke out in early 2004."
There has been no avian flu outbreak in Fujian since
2004, so it would have been impossible to isolate a so-called "Fujian-like"
virus in the province in 2005, Gao told reporters.
He added that up to now there have been no radical
mutation of the H5N1 virus in China that infected humans, and the danger of
serious human-to-human infection did not exist.
The minister also rejected accusations that China is
not willing to share avian flu virus samples with the World Health Organization
(WHO). He said that those who made the accusations are irresponsible.
Gao also said that since 2004 China has provided a
number of virus samples to the UN agency at its request, and the two sides
actually have reached an agreement on sample sharing in 2005.
He added that he has issued a formal invitation to
the WHO, asking the organization to send experts to China to see judge the real
"These experts can go to any place in China, and we
hope they can evaluate China's avian flu control situation in a scientific and
Gao noted that the Chinese government is open,
transparent, objective and responsible in the prevention and control of bird
flu. A cooperation mechanism of bird flu prevention has been established among
the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.
He added that an emergency response drill would be
carried out soon, which would be an important step to facilitate the operation
of the emergency response mechanism.
The minister reaffirmed that the Chinese mainland's
experts are encouraged to have close cooperation with their counterparts from
Taiwan, who are also welcomed to conduct reviews in the mainland.
Gao also highly praised the morality, capability and
professionalism of Dr. Margaret Chan, the former Hong Kong health chief who was
formally elected as the new director-general of WHO on Thursday.
He said that the Chinese government would fully
support her work in the WHO so that she could wholeheartedly carry out her
responsibility and serve the health cause of the world.
WHO apologizes to China for misusing bird flu
BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- The World Heath
Organization (WHO) has apologized to the Chinese government after bird flu
samples provided by China were misused by foreign research institutions, China's
chief veterinarian Jia Youling revealed here Friday. Full story