Get password
Search Product
Please select
Product Categories
Message Board


more details..

Jakarta Declaration on Virus Sharing: a strategic step to more equitable and affordable Avian Flu vaccines Distribution

Thursday April 12, 2007

Last November 2006 Indonesia took the unprecedented step of rejecting a WHO draft proposal delivered by the organization’s Dr. David Heymann, in which it was stated that countries afflicted by the H5N1 avian flu virus are obliged to submit virus specimens to WHO, yet having no rights whatsoever to these, wrote Indonesia’s Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari in Kompas daily of 11 April.
Consequently, since January 2007 the Indonesian Health Department had stopped sending virus samples to WHO as a form of protest, to which organization it had dutifully sent since 2005. WHO had insisted that virus samples be sent to WHO labs since the organization considered Indonesian labs not up to standard. But now Indonesia would cease sending these unless more favourable conditions were agreed upon.

Meanwhile, Indonesia discovered that WHO had passed a specimen to an Australian company, which had developed this into vaccines, without WHO having first informed Indonesia of this step, while in fact, said Minister Supari, each further transfer of specimens must be accompanied by a material transfer agreement. Subsequent to the rejection of the draft resolution, Indonesia used the lab of the Department of Health, working together with the Eyckmann Institute in Bandung, with faster results.

Today, Indonesia has the ignoble distinction of having the most deaths from the avian flu, which stands now at 73.   

In February this year a further meeting with Dr.David Heymann resulted in a deadlock, since Indonesia insisted that this country would send specimens only when WHO would change its regulations and mechanisms, which it found were unfair in regard to countries affected by the avian flu. It was then decided that the matter be resolved in a senior officials meeting.
Meantime it was found that the Indonesian strain of the H5N1 virus was more specific and stronger, so that vaccines developed from the Indonesian strain offer wider protection compared to other strains specimens. Subsequently, Indonesia decided to work with Baxter, which offered to develop the H5N1 Indonesia strain into vaccines through technological transfer. This cooperation would not be exclusive nor monopolistic.
On 26-28 March a Meeting was held in Jakarta of Health Ministers of 30 countries, to discuss the issue providing license to the vaccine industry to use virus specimens from source countries. This resulted in the “Jakarta Declaration on Responsible Practices for Sharing Avian Influenza Viruses and Resulting Benefits”, which contained 7 points of agreement.
In essence, as regards the avian influenza, the Health Ministers of affected and other related countries, assembled in Jakarta on 28 March 2007, agreed “to explore the modalities of a framework that strongly emphasizes the need for developing countries to share in the benefits resulting from the open and timely and equitable sharing and dissemination of information, data and biological specimens related to influenza, and especially the development and production of influenza vaccines that are accessible and affordable for all countries in order to accelerate local, regional and global preparedness and response to the threat of pandemic avian influenza”
This mechanism would be in force not only in connection  with the avian flu virus, but also vis-à-vis all communicable diseases, said Health Minister Supari. A specimen would still be sent to the WHO lab for risk assessment and identification only until the seed virus is formed.
 Indonesia has since resumed sending specimens to the WHO lab, informed Minister Supari.