U.S. health authorities have not received H7N9 avian flu specimens from their Chinese counterparts for more than a year now, according to the New York Times (porous paywall).
- These samples are important for developing vaccines against new strains of flu that could cause a global pandemic.
- Exchanges of such samples “have been mostly routine under rules established by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.),” says the Times.
- Without explanation, China stopped sending samples:
“[M]ore than one year after a devastating wave of H7N9 infections in Asia — 766 cases were reported, almost all in China — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still waiting for several viral samples, the National Security Council and the W.H.O. confirmed.”
- Taiwan and Hong Kong have sent H7N9 samples to four American research institutions. Taiwan is not a member of the W.H.O.