The World Health Organization’s Director General Dr. Margaret Chan met Tuesday with over 30 vaccine manufacturers from developing and developed countries at Geneva to fight flu epidemic.
We have a very serious commitment from companies in the North and in the South to work with WHO, Dr. Chan said at a press conference.
She said WHO would work to find innovative funding mechanisms to ensure that developing countries were not denied access to vaccines because of lack of means.
In the name of solidarity, I have reached out to drug and vaccine manufacturers, we will look at different mechanisms to make sure poor communities and countries are not left out, Dr Chan said.
The Director General said she would meet with vaccine manufactures individually to work out strategies to ensure pandemic vaccine availability.
In response to a question on pandemic alert phase change, Dr Chan explained that the definition of WHO's influenza preparedness phases was developed against the backdrop of H5N1 avian flu.
Influenza A(H1N1) has a very different clinical picture, which is so far mostly mild and self-limiting, unlike H5N1, which had a 50% to 60% mortality rate, she said that at the on-going World Health Assembly, member States had asked that WHO reflect criteria other than geographical spread before moving to Phase 6.
The flu pandemic alert level is currently still at Phase 5.