AVIAN FLU: PREVENTING A PANDEMIC
Demand grows for Roche's flu drug
plans to donate Tamiflu
to Romania and Turkey
A WALL STREET JOURNAL NEWS ROUNDUP
October 17, 2005
As pressure mounts for more supplies of Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu -- the antiviral considered the best treatment for bird flu -- the Swiss pharmaceuticals company said it is donating packs of the drug to Turkey and Romania, the two European countries where the deadly Asian strain has been confirmed.
European officials called for calm and Romania placed an eastern region under quarantine after tests showed Saturday that wild birds found dead had the H5N1 strain of the virus, identical to that discovered in Turkey a week ago. In Turkey, authorities sprayed disinfectant for a second time in a quarantined village and said the virus had been contained, though the head of a Turkish veterinarians association said there are risks of outbreaks elsewhere.
A Roche spokesman said Saturday the pharmaceuticals company is donating 20,000 packs of Tamiflu to Turkey to protect workers who may come into contact with infected poultry, and has given 2,400 packs to Romania. Roche, which has said it is increasing production of Tamiflu as quickly as possible, also has given three million packs to the World Health Organization.
On Friday, amid calls for greatly increasing supplies of Tamiflu, India's Cipla Ltd. said it soon will produce a generic version of the drug, currently the centerpiece of global and national drug stockpiles against a possible pandemic of H5N1 avian influenza.
Cipla, which has copied dozens of Western drugs, said its generic oseltamivir could be sold starting early next year at "a humanitarian price" in countries that desperately need it, but not commercially launched or sold in Europe or North America. Generic manufacturers can't legally sell the patented drug in the West or much of Asia, but the laws in many countries allow governments to invalidate patents during emergencies.
In a statement Friday, Roche said it hasn't been approached by Cipla or any company asking for the right to make Tamiflu, adding it assumed anyone "starting from scratch...would take years to start production given the high regulatory, quality and quantity hurdles and the complex manufacturing process."
Also on Friday, a U.S. consumer group, the Consumer Project on Technology, urged the U.S. government to allow generic versions of patented medicines such as Tamiflu to help the country prepare for a possible bird-flu pandemic. The U.S. considered -- but decided against -- bypassing Bayer AG's patent on the antibiotic Cipro after the 2001 anthrax attacks. But patents were relaxed for HIV drugs.
Ira Longini, a professor specializing in biostatistics at Emory University in Atlanta, said "we need to get some of these patents relaxed" as was successfully done with HIV drugs. "This time the need is even more acute," he said in an interview.
Avian Flu News Tracker
Wall Street Journal
October 17, 2005 6:56 a.m.
Updated regularly with news on avian-flu precautions, research and outbreaks. All times EDT.
Monday, Oct. 17, 2005
A leading European influenza expert said the European Union appeared to be well prepared to isolate outbreaks of bird flu before they pose a major health risk to humans. "I think we have a blueprint how to manage this," said Albert Osterhaus, chairman of the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza. The real danger, he said, comes from the risk that an outbreak of bird flu in Southeast Asia could mutate into a disease easily spread from human to human. "If that were to happen with humans, then we will have a very dangerous situation," he said. His organization calls for more government funding for the pharmaceutical industry to develop "prototype vaccines" to prepare for any eventual human flu pandemic. 12:45 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005
The Wall Street Journal's James Hookway reports. The top U.S. health official arrived in Indonesia after committing $25 million to combating the spread of bird flu in Asia and warning that the virus presents a long-term danger to human health. In a telephone interview from Vietnam Saturday, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said his tour with U.S. and U.N. health officials to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in the past week has underscored just how difficult it is create an effective surveillance network to keep track of the disease. Read the full article.1 5:50 p.m.
As pressure mounts for more supplies of Roche's Tamiflu, the Swiss pharmaceutical company said it is donating packs of the drug to Turkey and Romania, the two European countries where the deadly Asian strain has been confirmed. Read the full article.2 11:15 a.m.
Britain's chief medical officer warned that a bird flu pandemic could cause at least 50,000 additional flu deaths in the country. Sir Liam Donaldson said flu kills more than 12,000 people in Britain every winter, but that number could be five times higher if the H5N1 bird flu virus mutates into a form that spreads easily between humans," Sir Liam told the BBC's Sunday AM program. More.3 7:10 a.m.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt was to arrive in Jakarta later Sunday for a two-day visit to discuss with Indonesian leaders on Monday ways to identify and contain bird flu outbreaks, following stops in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. He will discuss Indonesia's capacity to respond to bird flu outbreaks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari and Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab. 5:25 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005
Turkish authorities sprayed disinfectant Saturday in a quarantined village where a bird-flu outbreak was detected, saying the virus there had been contained, but there was still a risk that migratory birds could cause new outbreaks elsewhere. 5 p.m.
Poland banned the sale of live birds at open-air markets and ordered farmers to keep poultry in closed quarters beginning Monday. It also banned pigeon races. "We are doing this to protect the public from danger," Polish Agriculture Minister Jerzy Pilarczyk said. 4:30 p.m.
An unknown disease has caused the deaths of wild Teal ducks in northwestern Iran, but a government official said the cause wasn't the bird flu strain that has killed birds in Romania and neighboring Turkey. Behrouz Yasemi, an official with Iran's State Veterinary Organization, said: "We were looking for bird flu [but] medical tests have definitely ruled out flu." He blamed a "mysterious disease" for the 3,700 deaths. 3:30 p.m.
Tests confirmed the bird flu found in Romania was the H5N1 strain, the deadly virus that has devastated flocks in Asia and turned up in Turkey, the European Commission said Saturday. EU Health Commissioner Kyprianou said no further measures were needed to prevent the virus spreading from Romania at this point, following a ban imposed on poultry imports from there on Thursday. More.4 10:20 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 14, 2005
The Wall Street Journal's Marilyn Chase and Dow Jones Newswires' Santanu Choudhury report. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of virology at the University of Tokyo and senior author of a Nature study5, said the discovery of resistance to Tamiflu in a bird-flu victim wasn't a surprise, given his earlier findings that 18% of Japanese children developed resistance after being treated with Tamiflu for normal, seasonal flu. "The message is don't get panicked," said Dr. Kawaoka. "The vast majority of H5N1 viruses out there are still sensitive to oseltamivir," the generic name for Tamiflu, he said in an interview. "We should do what we planned, which is to stockpile oseltamavir, and perhaps we should consider zanamavir too," he added, referring to Relenza, the inhaled flu drug from Britain's GlaxoSmithKline. Read the full article.6 6:30 p.m. 7
In a panel discussion on CNBC8, WSJ's Bernie Wysocki, and NBC's Bob Bazell and Sue Bailey talked about the threat of bird flu spreading to humans, what the U.S. and other nations should be focusing on and the status of a vaccine to combat the virus. 4 p.m.
The bird-flu virus that infected a Vietnamese girl was resistant to Tamiflu, the main antiviral drug being recommended by WHO, a researcher said Friday, saying it points to the need to stockpile alternative drugs. More.9 (Read a report in the journal Nature on this case10.) 3:30 p.m. 11
EU veterinary experts agreed to new measures Friday aimed at preventing the deadly bird flu virus from entering the 25-nation bloc. More.12 3:15 p.m.
France ordered 2.5 million doses of Sanofi-Aventis's experimental bird-flu vaccine for humans, a government official said. The vaccine is under clinical review and hasn't been licensed for sale, but French health authorities want to ensure Sanofi-Aventis will be able to mass produce the drug at home in the event of an emergency. "We will probably never need to use them," said Didier Houssin, coordinator of France's bird-flu task force. Rival drug makers including Chiron of the U.S. and GlaxoSmithKline of the U.K. are also racing to bring vaccines to market. (See CDC update on bird-flu vaccines13.) 11:45 a.m.
India's Cipla said it will soon start making a generic version of Tamiflu, the anti-influenza drug made by Switzerland's Roche that's in short supply due to stockpiling by countries. "We have completed all the laboratory work and we're beginning to start production," said Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman and managing director of Cipla. "We should be able to make it available by January-February." 11 a.m.
Bird flu was found in a second Romanian village. The Romanian Agriculture Ministry said that a swan and a chicken collected from the village of Maliuc tested positive for the H5 subtype bird-flu virus. The earlier cases were found nearly 20 miles south in Ceamurlia. A quarantine on the remote Ceamurlia de Jos area was extended to include Maliuc. Authorities also finished culling birds in Ceamurlia Friday, and were beginning to kill birds in Maliuc as a precaution. Birds in both cities tested positive for the H5 bird-flu virus, but it hasn't yet been determined if the birds were infected with the deadly H5N1 strain. Samples were sent to an EU lab in Britain to determine the strain, but results won't be known until Saturday. 10:45 a.m.
Turkish officials released nine people from medical watch after concluding that they were not infected with bird flu. 10:40 a.m.
The EU will send its veterinary and laboratory experts to Bulgaria and Turkey, after both countries requested help in preventing bird flu from spreading, EU spokesman Philip Tod said. Bird flu is thought to be in neighboring Romania and Turkey, but only Turkey's outbreak has been confirmed as the deadly H5N1 strain. Bulgaria has increased customs checks, banned wild-bird hunting and boosted monitoring of migratory birds. France has banned poultry imports from Turkey and Romania. Greece's foreign minister said health agencies across southeast Europe are working closely to keep the bird-flu outbreak from spreading beyond Turkey and Romania. (See more information at the EU's bird-flu page.14) 9 a.m.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for complete transparency between nations to avoid a bird-flu pandemic. "We believe firmly that there has to be complete transparency about what is going on with avian flu. The world should not be caught unawares by a very dangerous pandemic because countries refuse to share information, and so that is our very strong concern," she said at a news conference in Paris after talks with French leaders. 7:00 a.m.
Turkish officials put nine people under medical observation after reports that 40 pigeons in their neighborhood mysteriously died, as officials confirmed that earlier bird deaths were caused by the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu, authorities said. In Kiziksa, where the earlier deaths occurred, veterinary officials in protective suits were culling the few remaining birds in the village. Officials already have culled some 8,600 birds in the western Turkish village and vowed to kill all within a two-mile radius surrounding Kiziksa. A veterinary official said Friday that the work would finish later in the evening. 5:15 a.m.
European Union veterinary experts were expected to endorse additional precautionary measures Friday to prevent the deadly H5N1 bird-flu virus from spreading from Turkey westward into the EU. Diplomats said EU foreign ministers would hold emergency talks on the outbreaks on Tuesday in Luxembourg, to assess how to further coordinate measures. 4:00 a.m.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in Hanoi that countries world-wide must work together to quickly prepare for a potential flu pandemic. "What's the probability of [a pandemic] happening again during the next decade? We don't know, but the warning signs are clearly troubling -- so troubling that no nation on Earth can afford to ignore this," Mr. Leavitt said. Vietnam is the last stop on Mr. Leavitt's Southeast Asian tour, which also included visits to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. (See a graphic on major flu epidemics15 of the past century.) 2:30 a.m.
The Wall Street Journal's James Hookway reports from Kaeng Koi, Thailand. Rural Asia, with its thousands of poultry farms, is where the battle to contain bird flu and stop it from jumping the species barrier to humans must be fought, some virologists and agriculture experts say. See full report16. 12:30 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005
U.S. health and aviation officials are taking steps to prevent the rapid spread of bird flu the way SARS did in 2003. Planes provide a fertile environment for the spread of disease, so more than a dozen U.S. airports have set up additional quarantine stations and implemented systems for reporting and tracking travelers that might have been exposed. Katherine Andrus, spokeswoman for the Air Transport Association, which represents major airlines, said the industry is concerned but doesn't want to overreact. "We are taking all the appropriate measures to make sure that if it's a pandemic, we're prepared to respond," she said. 4:20 p.m.
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has spread north and west out of southeast Asia. See a map17 of countries with reported outbreaks in both humans and poultry. Plus, see the WHO's tally of confirmed human cases18 and related deaths. 12:05 p.m.
Balkan states tightened their borders following confirmation of the presence of bird flu in Turkey and Romania. In Bulgaria, which neighbors both affected countries, authorities seized 255 kilograms of frozen duck meat hidden in a truck at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. The discovery raised fears that smugglers in the region could try and dump banned poultry in some European countries. The EU has banned the import of live birds, poultry meat and feathers from both Romania and Turkey. 10:45 a.m.
In a bid to plug gaps in Asia's defense against bird flu, the U.S. has agreed to give $3.4 million to Laos to help the impoverished nation fend off the disease. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt signed the agreement during a visit to the landlocked country, his third stop on a four-country tour of Southeast Asia. Mr. Leavitt, accompanied by the WHO Director Lee Jong-wook and other top health professionals, already has visited Thailand and Cambodia, and will next go to Vietnam. The U.S. previously agreed to give $1.85 million to Cambodia. 10:20 a.m.
Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said a bird-flu outbreak in a village in western Turkey has been contained and urged the public to remain calm, saying the country was well prepared. "Bird flu is totally under control," Mr. Akdag said. "The outbreak in winged animals occurred in one area and has been contained." 8:35 a.m.
The top EU health official advised flu shots following the announcement that the bird-flu virus found in Turkish poultry was the virulent H5N1 strain. Health Commissioner Kyprianou said he advocated "the increase of vaccination among the risk population for the seasonal flu in any event, not at least because this is part of our preparedness plan to deal with the potential or possible pandemic." 6:50 a.m.
The EU said bird flu found in Turkish poultry is the deadly H5N1 strain that scientists worry might mutate into a human virus and spark a pandemic. "We have received now confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is an avian-flu H5N1 virus," said EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. "There is a direct relationship with viruses found in Russia, Mongolia and China." 6:40 a.m.
Turkey has asked Roche to provide one million boxes of antiviral drug Tamiflu as a precaution against a possible pandemic, the Health Ministry said, after preliminary tests last week detected bird flu in a flock of turkeys in western Turkey. 5:45 a.m.
Vietnam joined the U.N. in launching a $6.8 million joint program to combat bird flu over the winter months -- when the majority of the country's fatalities from the illness have occurred in past years. The agreement is the first of its kind and includes donors such as the U.S., Europe and the World Bank. (See more information at the U.N.'s avian-influenza page.19) 3:40 a.m.
The European Union banned imports of live birds, poultry meat and feathers from Romania because of the bird-flu threat. 3:10 a.m.
Romania's agriculture minister said experts confirmed a bird-flu virus has been found in samples taken from dead birds in Romania's Danube Delta, but it was not known whether the virus is the virulent H5N1 strain. The samples are being sent to Britain to identify the specific strain of virus, said Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur. 2:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005
The Wall Street Journal's Nicholas Zamiska reports. As scientists grapple with the most serious aspects of a possible bird-flu pandemic, investors are trying to ferret out pockets of potential in the shares of medical and health companies. If avian influenza broke out widely among humans today, there could be immense demand for the products of two heavyweights, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis. But some investors, including hedge-fund managers, have turned to less-well-known companies, whose shares they believe will move more sharply on bird-flu demands. Read Nicholas's full report20. 4:15 p.m.
Flu-infected birds may have swollen eyes and bluish skin discoloration.
Germany ramped up spot checks at Frankfurt's international airport for potentially contaminated animals and foodstuffs, Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexander Mueller said. Customs officers have seized several kilos of duck feet and tongues, as well as live cats and dogs from travelers from East Asia in recent days. Germany is also increasing highway checks and monitoring migratory birds. 12:05 p.m.
Vietnam's deputy prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, asked the international community for help in fighting bird flu in the country, where 45 people have been killed by the virus, out of about 60 deaths in the region. Dung's remarks came a day before U.S. Health Secretary Michael Leavitt arrives to assess Vietnam's bird-flu preparedness. Vietnamese officials will meet with donors again on Thursday to present a draft of its emergency-preparedness plan and to drum up more financial support. 10:20 a.m.
On CNBC, Donald Coxe of Canada's BMO Financial Group talked about the potential economic impact of a bird-flu outbreak and compared today's flu warnings to early warnings about potential flooding in Louisiana. See video of the interview21 and BMO's report, "An Investor's Guide to Avian Flu.22" 9:50 a.m.
Tests on suspected cases of bird flu in Romania have all come back negative, according to Philip Tod, spokesman for Markos Kyprianou, European Union Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. More.23 6:05 a.m.
Serbia issued a hunting ban in an effort to prevent an outbreak of bird flu in the Balkan country. The Agriculture Ministry said it had banned hunting of 12 kinds of migratory birds that could bring in bird flu while flying over Serbia en route from the north, mainly from Russia. 5:40 a.m.
Cambodian officials must closely monitor the health of people and animals so they will be able to swiftly halt any spread of a possible mutant strain of bird flu, U.S. Health Secretary Michael Leavitt said in the Cambodian capital. "If we find that there is human-to-human transmission anywhere there is danger everywhere," Mr. Leavitt said. It is of "significant importance" to Cambodia and other nations in the world "that we have the capacity to identify at the earliest possible moment when it has occurred," he said. Bird flu has killed at least 60 people, including four Cambodians. 5:30 a.m.
Thailand offered the EU expertise and cooperation to help prevent the spread of bird flu in Europe. "Thailand has great expertise in that area, and the prime minister was offering the expertise of Thailand for European Union," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. The 25-nation bloc has stepped up surveillance measures and precautions after preliminary tests in Turkey and Romania found the presence of the virus in poultry there. (See more information at the EU's bird-flu page.24) 5:05 a.m.
The U.S. and the WHO warned that the economic impact from a flu pandemic would be enormous. "If the [virulent H5N1] virus mutates, it could end in an influenza pandemic," said Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary for democracy and global affairs at the U.S. State Department. "There are also consequences for economic growth as well as regional and global security. .. It could kill millions," she said. WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook compared avian flu to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, that killed 774 people world-wide. "At the time of SARS .. the economic impact was worth billions of dollars," Dr. Lee said. "You can imagine [what would happen] if a global influenza pandemic is unchecked." (See more information at the WHO's avian-flu page.25) 4:10 a.m.
The Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Whalen and Marc Champion report from London. Romania is conducting a second round of tests on sick birds found in the Danube Delta. While antibodies to avian flu were discovered in the Romanian birds last week, a first round of tests failed to isolate the virus. Meanwhile, Poland's government said it is ready to force all poultry farms to move their stock indoors until the migration season ends next month, if an outbreak of avian flu is confirmed in Romania. 12:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005
The growing concern over bird flu is gratifying, but earlier mobilization would have been better, the head of the U.N. agriculture agency said. "Everybody is rushing now, and we're happy and we're very pleased that action is being taken at the highest political level," said Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO. But, "we're in .. October 2005. Our [agency] went to the three front-line countries -- Thailand, Vietnam, China -- in January, February, 2004," Diouf told the Associated Press. He said the international community began to act only when bird flu reached Kazakhstan and Russia over the summer. See updated U.N. bird-flu maps26 and related FAO resources27. 6:30 p.m.
Authorities ordered poultry farmers in a quarantined area in western Turkey to hand over birds for culling or face fines and possible jail sentences. The local governor's office said nearly 5,700 domestic birds had already been killed. In Romania, some 40,000 birds were to be slaughtered in coming days and authorities were giving thousands of people a standard flu vaccine to prevent them from getting human flu. In these countries, laboratories haven't confirmed bird flu, let alone the presence of the closely watched H5N1 strain. 3:40 p.m.
The Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Whalen reports from London. Roche Holding, which produces the best antiviral treatment currently available for avian flu, would be willing to discuss allowing other companies to produce the drug but doesn't believe any other firm is able to do so and hasn't been approached by any that want to begin, a company official said. In the meantime, Roche is searching for smaller companies that can ramp up the various stages of production in a bid to increase availability of the drug, known as Tamiflu. Read Jeanne's full report.28 12:15 p.m.
Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson tells CNBC what the Laurel, Miss.-based chicken processor is doing to prevent an outbreak of avian flu in the U.S. "At all times we try to protect the poultry from various diseases and bacteria by limiting access to the farms," Mr. Sanderson said. "Also, [we] protect the poultry from wild birds." Watch the video.29 10:35 a.m.
United Nations officials said they are exploring ways to step up the production of a vaccine in case bird flu mutates and sparks a human influenza pandemic. David Nabarro, the U.N. coordinator for avian and human influenza, said "it will take six months to build up a stockpile of vaccines," but health authorities are worried that might be too long if a pandemic flu strain emerges. "We will need to have vaccines much more quickly than six months," Mr. Nabarro said, adding that the World Health Organization and governments are exploring how to "pull together vaccine manufacturers" to see if it can be done more quickly. 9:15 a.m.
President Bush expressed confidence that the government would develop a plan "to handle a major outbreak" of bird flu if it spreads to the U.S., in an interview on NBC's "Today" show. 8 a.m.
The European Commission warned European Union governments against taking unilateral actions against avian flu, saying that any response should be Europe-wide. The EU on Monday imposed a ban on imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey, and the commission said it will take similar steps against Romania if blood tests on birds there come back positive. But EU members, including Hungary, Poland and Greece, already have banned imports of live birds and poultry products from Romania because of fears of bird flu. (See more information at the EU's bird-flu page.30) 7:20 a.m.
Farmers in a quarantined village in western Turkey handed over their turkeys and chickens to authorities for culling as the government tried to contain an outbreak of suspected bird flu, officials said. Expert laboratories have not confirmed bird flu, let alone the presence of the H5N1 strain that experts are tracking for fear it could mutate to become a dangerous human virus. But officials in Turkey and Romania have been moving quickly to contain and combat the disease, with both countries killing thousands of birds. 6:10 a.m.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that the European Union should coordinate its bird-flu response measures to better protect itself. Mr. Douste-Blazy, speaking on France-2 television, said he would like to see a meeting of EU health and foreign ministers "within a rather short time so that we can harmonize our reaction." "The H5N1 virus is in the process of scattering and is reaching our doorstep," he said. 3:05 a.m.
The Associated Press reports from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The U.S. will provide Cambodia with the expertise and funding needed to help the poor Southeast Asian nation fight bird flu, the U.S. Embassy announced. The assistance includes enabling Cambodia to quickly respond to outbreaks of the deadly illness as part of Washington's newly intensified efforts to prevent a possible world-wide flu pandemic. The deal comes during a visit to the region by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, who is leading a delegation including the head of the World Health Organization and other top health professionals. 2:10 a.m.
The New York Times reports. Roche Holdings, the maker of the main drug that would be used against a possible bird-flu epidemic, is under growing pressure to allow production of generic versions of the medicine, with a senior Taiwanese official saying that his country could begin manufacturing it in a couple months if it received permission. But the company and some outside experts say production of the drug, Tamiflu, is so complex and time-consuming that even generic makers could not quickly expand global supplies. See full report31. 1:45 a.m.
Wall Street Journal reporter Marilyn Chase reports from San Francisco. As governments set aside stocks of antiviral Tamiflu to use against avian flu, experts warn that regular flu is showing resistance to the drug, and that the deadly strain spread by birds could also grow impervious to the drug. And they add that panicked use by individuals to prevent avian flu this winter could accelerate the resistance, though there is no evidence yet of widespread stockpiling. See full report32. 12:30 a.m.
Monday, Oct. 10, 2005
MarketWatch reports. Shares of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals gained on hopes that the company might begin development again of its mothballed antiviral drug peramivir in response to fears of a world-wide outbreak of avian flu. Antivirals are used to treat severe cases of flu. More on peramivir at the New York Times.33 2:45 p.m.
The Wall Street Journal's Marc Champion in London and James Hookway in Bangkok report. With avian influenza reaching Turkey and perhaps Romania, European governments are closing their borders to poultry imports from these countries and checking their vaccine stocks. European Commission health officials said it probably would not be until Wednesday before it is known whether the virulent H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus has reached Europe. But the scare appeared already to be galvanizing European governments. See full report34. 1:20 p.m.
Leading a multinational team of medical experts to mobilize Southeast Asian nations against bird flu, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Monday that the likelihood of a flu pandemic is "very high." Also, Leavitt spoke with CNBC35. 11 a.m.
Compiled by WSJ.com staff from sources including the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.