BEIJING/TAIPEI, April 19 (Xinhua) -- The mainland-based China Center for Disease Control (CCDC) sent samples of the H7N9 bird flu virus to Taiwan on Friday.
The samples will arrive in Taipei Saturday morning, the CCDC said, adding that they will be studied by a Taiwanese virus research institution.
Chou Chih-hau, deputy director-general of Taiwan's Center for Disease Control (CDC), said the samples will be used to assess the effectiveness of current virus testing measures.
Researchers will assess the virus' drug resistance and develop a vaccine as soon as possible, Chou said.
The transfer of the samples is in accordance with a cross-strait agreement on medical and public health cooperation that was signed by the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) last year.
The mainland has provided aid to Taiwanese disease control experts who have come to the mainland to study the virus.
Chang Feng-Yee, chief of the Taiwanese CDC, said the island's health authorities will closely monitor the bird flu's development on the mainland and send more disease control experts to the mainland.
Ninety-six suspected H7N9 cases have been reported in Taiwan, although the virus has been ruled out in all of the cases. Eighty-eight cases have been reported on the mainland, resulting in 17 deaths.