WHO Deadly Flu Samples
Missing - Weirder & Weirder

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - This story just gets more bizzare every day. Mexico and Lebanon say "they never received the virus samples." What is going ON?
Two Nations Never Received Deadly Flu Kits
CBC News
GENEVA - Some samples of a pandemic flu strain accidentally sent to labs around the world never made it to their destinations in Lebanon and Mexico, the World Health Organization said Friday.
Officials at the United Nations health agency aren't sure that the samples were actually sent, however.
"Some of the countries and laboratories never received anything," said the organization's flu expert, Klaus Stohr. "They were on the address list of the college, but never received anything."
WHO officials are trying to confirm whether kits were shipped to Mexico and Lebanon before launching an intensive search for the supposedly missing samples, he said.
Beginning in October, the College of American Pathologists mistakenly sent 3,747 international laboratories a strain of H2N2 influenza similar to the one that killed 4 million people when it sparked a 1957 flu pandemic.
Destroy Mislabelled Pandemic Flu Samples WHO Tells Labs
BBC News
It was contained in kits used routinely to test for pathogens.
Flu vaccines have contained no protection against the H2N2 strain since 1969, so people below the age of 37 have no immunity against the disease.
Researchers at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory detected the mislabelled samples on March 26, warning WHO that the H2N2 virus was being distributed instead of the less dangerous H3N2 strain.
Of the 18 countries whose labs received the samples, 10 have now confirmed that the virus material has been destroyed, Stohr said.
That accounts for two-thirds of all the labs that received the kits.
Deadly Flu Samples Still Missing
BBC News
Samples of a potentially lethal flu strain sent to Lebanon and Mexico did not reach the respective laboratories, the World Health Organization says.
The WHO said it was trying to trace the samples, which were sent by a US testing organisation.
The samples are of Asian flu, which killed between one and four million people in 1957 but disappeared by 1968.
More than 3,700 laboratories in 18 countries received the testing kits and have been racing to destroy the virus.
The WHO says the virus could "easily cause an influenza epidemic" if not handled properly.
All but five of the countries outside US that received the kits say they have now destroyed them.
Europe: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy
Americas: Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, the US
Asia: Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan
Middle East: Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia
The WHO has not said how much had been destroyed in US labs, which received the vast majority of the samples.
The College of American Pathologists (Cap) said the kits had been sent to the following countries including the US: Bermuda, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan.
But the man who co-ordinates the WHO global influenza programme, Klaus Stohr, told the BBC News website that the one laboratory in Lebanon that was supposed to have been sent the kits had not received any. And one out of four laboratories in Mexico had not had any consignment either.
Mr Stohr said the WHO and Cap were trying to find out what happened to the samples sent by prestigious international carriers.
He said it was possible that the laboratories had not gone to collect the kits. However, he said the WHO was not concerned at this stage.
"There are simpler ways of interfering with the samples" if one so wished, Mr Stohr said.
No Immunity
Because the virus has not been in circulation since 1968, people born after that do not have antibodies against it - and current vaccines do not guard against it.
The Cap sent out kits between October 2004 and February of this year.
On 8 April, the US government asked the body to write to the laboratories affected - of which 61 are outside the US and Canada - telling them to destroy the samples.
Given the concerns that the virus could be used in bio-terrorism, letters were sent to the laboratories before the mistake was made public.
The virus - technically known as H2N2 - was classified as Biological Safety Level 2, meaning that it was not considered particularly dangerous.
But the US government agency responsible for classifying viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says it was in the process of deciding whether to change the strain's classification when it found out it had been widely circulated.
The WHO says there is no guarantee that every sample of the virus can be traced and destroyed because some of the laboratories may have sent derivatives of the sample elsewhere.
But there have been no reports of anyone becoming ill from handling the virus.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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