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Cablegate: Russian Development and Exercising of Avian and Pandemic

VZCZCXRO5534
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1318/01 0851421
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261421Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8624
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 4673
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 0069
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0770
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4210
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 1506
RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH 0390
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 0260
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHEFAFM/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1//
RHMFIUU/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC//CT//
RHEFSNG/HMSNG WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 001318

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/AIG/KOWALSKI, CLERKIN, AND SES-O/CMS/GISVOLD
STATE ALSO FOR EUR/RUS, EB/TPP/ATP, EB/TPP/BTA, OES/STC
USDA FOR OSEC/DAN CAINE, FAS FOR OSTA/MACKE,
- WRIGHT, LEIER, ROSENBLUM; OCRA/THOMAS,
- FLEMINGS; OA/PATRICK CLERKIN
HHS FOR SAWYER, STEIGER
FAS PASS FSIS AND APHIS
SECDEF FOR OSD
VIENNA PASS APHIS/TANAKA, BRUSSELS PASS
- APHIS/FERNANDEZ
USDOC 3150/DAVID FULTON/MOLLY COSTA/ITA/CS/OIO/EUR
GENEVA PASS HEALTH ATTACHE
DEPARTMENT PASS USAID FOR GH/RCS/EE/ROSENBERG
CDC ATLANTA PASS SEPRL FOR DAVID SUAREZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU KSTH RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN DEVELOPMENT AND EXERCISING OF AVIAN AND PANDEMIC
INFLUENZA RESPONSE PLANS

REFS: A. STATE 22992

B. 06 MOSCOW 8690 (AI Action Plan)
C. MOSCOW 776 (Recent Outbreaks)
D. MOSCOW 778 (Recent Outbreaks)
E. MOSCOW 843 (Recent Outbreaks)
F. MOSCOW 900 (Recent Outbreaks)
G. 06 MOSCOW 10955 (Human AI Vaccine)
H. 06 MOSCOW 1041 (AI Simulation Exercise)
I. 06 MOSCOW 12876 (G8 Infectious Diseases)

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In response to Ref A request, Russia has not yet
publicly released a comprehensive Avian Influenza (AI) and Pandemic
Preparedness Plan. A draft national preparedness plan has been
submitted to the WHO for review, but needs further refinement. In
2006, Russia did approve an action plan to spend nearly $49 million
combating the further spread of AI, with the Ministries of
Agriculture and of Health and Social Development receiving the
lion's share of the funds to produce and purchase vaccines and to
improve laboratory capacity. Russia has held several conferences
and exercises focusing on AI preparedness over the course of the
last year for both Russian and CIS experts. The country has been
steadily working to strengthen AI surveillance, diagnostics, and
general preparedness; to position the State Research Institute of
Virology and Biotechnology (Vector) as a regional collaborating flu
center; and to take a leading role among the CIS countries in
preparedness, planning and response. END SUMMARY.

Full Preparedness Plan in Draft Form
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Russian Government has not yet publicly released a
comprehensive plan for pandemic preparedness. The Russian Research
Institute of Influenza (RII) in St. Petersburg developed a draft
plan in 2006, which it has shared with the WHO and USAID. Several
regional plans have also been shared with WHO. The draft plan
describes the Russian surveillance system and estimates the amount
of antiviral medicines, vaccines, and hospital facilities that would
be needed in the event of an epidemic. The document also discusses
the development of vaccine and antiviral stockpiles, and disease
surveillance and outbreak investigation but needs further
refinement. Multidisciplinary training on flu preparedness and
response will be carried out by the GOR with WHO assistance in the
next quarter in the Russian Far East, the North Caucasus and other
regions where there have been repeated outbreaks in birds.

3. (SBU) In August 2006, the government approved an action plan to
spend $49 million combating the further spread of AI (Ref B). The
largest portion of these funds went to the Ministry of Agriculture
to purchase and produce poultry vaccines, improve AI diagnostics and
outfit outbreak investigation teams. The Federal Service for
Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance also received funding to
purchase equipment and protective gear for laboratories. The Agency
for Health Care and the Federal Service for Consumer Rights
Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) under the Ministry
of Health and Social Development were given money to stockpile human
vaccines, disinfectants, and antivirals, and to equip labs and

MOSCOW 00001318 002 OF 003


purchase diagnostic kits. Other entities received modest funding,
including the Russian Academy of Sciences to monitor and map bird
migration and identify potential species carrying AI, and the
Ministry of Defense to equip and improve diagnostics at the
ministry's virology research center and its mobile units.

March 2007 Pandemic Preparedness Conference
-------------------------------------------

4. (U) Russia hosted an international Influenza Conference entitled
"Preparedness for an Influenza Pandemic: An International Outlook,"
in St. Petersburg March 15-17, at which Russian researchers
presented the country's response to the most recent AI outbreaks in
the Moscow region among poultry (Refs C-F). U.S. experts from the
CDC and European researchers also presented analyses of recent human
cases and bird outbreaks around the world. More than 100
participants attended the conference, including representatives from
many of the CIS countries (Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan,
Krygyzstan, and Tajikistan).

General Preparedness Progress in 2006
-------------------------------------

5. (U) In 2006, Russia became a member of the International
Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The country launched a
national poultry vaccination program and greatly expanded its human
influenza vaccination program, targeting 22 million people (15.4
percent of the population). Russia has successfully stamped out
nearly 150 outbreaks of AI (sitreps reporting on these outbreaks are
posted on the embassy's classified website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/moscow/). The CDC and the USDA Southeast
Poultry Research Laboratory also forged closer ties in AI research
with Vector. Russia began developing and conducting clinical trials
on a human AI vaccine (Ref G). In February 2006, Russia's Emergency
Services Ministry held a series of exercises simulating AI
outbreaks, in which over 1,500 Russians participated (Ref H).

Influenza Surveillance Strengthened
-----------------------------------

6. (U) The Russian Government has purchased 15 real-time PCR
machines and 64 fluorescent machines to perform influenza
diagnostics. Some 15 more machines are being purchased with funding
from the CDC for use in Russia. The Central Research Institute of
Epidemiology is currently producing test kits for influenza
diagnostics and is conducting lab trainings for lab specialists from
all regions.

7. (U) Russia has two federal WHO collaborating centers: the
Research Institute of Influenza (RII) in St. Petersburg and the
Center of Influenza Epidemiology and Ecology at the Ivanovsky
Institute of Virology in Moscow. These institutes receive weekly
data on respiratory diseases incidence from a total of 54 regions of
Russia and in turn provide weekly reports to Rospotrebnadzor, WHO,
WHO collaborating centers, and regional labs. These centers also
receive and analyze isolates from the above regions. Some 49
regions linked to the RII have a computer-based system of
epidemiological surveillance, and 20 Russian labs have the capacity

MOSCOW 00001318 003 OF 003


for virus isolation in cell culture. Another 40 labs can perform
direct immunofluorescent assays, and many labs can identify
rimantadin and oseltamavir (Tamiflu) resistance.

8. (U) A USAID/WHO program reached another 18 labs which have been
added to the influenza surveillance network, bringing the total
number to 72. Curriculum and training materials on molecular
diagnostics of H5N1 and recommendations for establishing and
maintaining the laboratory network have been developed with support
from WHO through a USAID grant. Proficiency testing and validation
of locally produced H5 diagnostic tests have been successfully
completed in collaboration with WHO.

Russia's Leading AI Preparedness Role within the CIS
--------------------------------------------- -------

9. (U) At the St. Petersburg G8 Summit last July, the G8 leaders
supported Russia's taking a leading role within the CIS on pandemic
preparedness. Russia is spending $45 million to establish Vector as
a regional collaborating center for AI and to equip a network of 26
other labs. Vector has also begun the process of establishing
itself as a WHO collaborating center for influenza (Ref I). Four
leading Russian influenza experts visited the WHO collaborating
Center at CDC Atlanta in January 2007, and will soon visit a similar
center in the UK.

10. (U) Russia hosted a two-day CIS Conference on Joint AI
Prevention in November 2006 in Novosibirsk. All CIS countries
except Georgia participated. At the meeting, the CIS countries
adopted a joint action plan on pandemic preparedness for 2006-2009.
They also endorsed establishing Vector as a WHO influenza
collaborating center, noting that it would increase efficiency and
reduce the cost of anti-epidemic activities. (The complete text of
the conference resolution is available in English through Open
Source as document CEP20061219346001, and is available in Russian on
the Rospotrebnadzor website: www.rospotrebnadzor.ru.)

BURNS

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