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Cablegate: Urgent Demarche for Who Singapore Meeting On Sharing

VZCZCXRO3959
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHHI #1333 2081520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271520Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5936
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3419
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHSUN/USUN ROME IT

UNCLAS HANOI 001333

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, G/AIAG
STATE PASS TO HHS/OGHA (STIEGER/VALDEZ/BELL/HICKEY)
CDC FOR OGHA (BLOUT/MCCALL) AND DIV-FLU (COX/MOHEN)
HHS PASS TO FIC/NIH (GLASS)
BANGKOK FOR CDC (MALISON)
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE (ROSS)
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR (BRADY)
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR (CORWIN)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU AORC PNIR PREL OTRA WHO VM
SUBJECT: URGENT DEMARCHE FOR WHO SINGAPORE MEETING ON SHARING
INFLUENZA VIRUS SAMPLES AND VACCINE ACCESS

REF: (A) SECSTATE 103509, (B) HANOI 890

1. (U) On July 27 ESTHOff and CDC Avian Influenza Advisor conveyed
the points in ref A and delivered the non-paper entitled "Goals for
Meeting of WHO Interdisciplinary Working Group" to the Ministry of
Health's International Cooperation Department General Director Dr.
Tran Trong Hai. Post also faxed a copy of the non-paper to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2. (SBU) After delivering our points, Dr. Hai responded that the
Government of Vietnam (GVN) is quite familiar with this issue and
Government of Indonesia's declaration. He stated that the GVN has
two principles: 1) the GVN strongly supports sharing of virus
samples for the benefit of the global community; however, 2) the GVN
also agrees to some of the principles that contributing countries
may unfairly benefit from the revenue that pharmaceutical companies
receive from commercialized drugs and vaccines produced from these
virus strains. He added that Vietnam was the first country to
provide avian influenza strains to the WHO Global Influenza
Surveillance Network and that the GVN seeks to openly share such
strains in the future. Dr. Hai expressed a frustration that
oftentimes little information is shared after the strains are
submitted to the WHO system and that more technology transfer for
vaccine development could be provided to developing countries. Dr.
Hai concluded by stating that he would share the document with the
Minister of Health.

3. (U) During the follow-up discussion, the CDC Avian Influenza
Advisor noted that Vietnam does indeed benefit from this
information, citing an example of how the GVN's Nha Trang Vaccine
and Bioproduct Institute is currently producing a human AI vaccine
using a WHO-supplied seed strain that comes from one of the original
Vietnam-sourced strains. In another example, CDC/Atlanta recently
responded to GVN by immediately confirming that H5N1 viruses from
May 2007 Vietnam human cases belonged to genomic clade 2.3, a
finding of scientific and public health importance to Vietnam.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Dr. Hai's comments, which indicate that the GVN
is sensitive to issues raised by Indonesia, should not generate
immediate concerns about GVN's compliance with its agreements on
sample sharing. The GVN has been among the most straightforward and
cooperative international players in this regard. We do not think
the GVN believes that countries contributing samples of virus are
entitled to more than analysis, technical assistance and
recommendations; and the GVN has not alluded to compensation related
to sample sharing (ref B). END COMMENT.

5. (U) Dr. Nguyen Tran Hien, Director of National Institute of
Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), will be the senior GVN
representative to the WHO IWG meeting in Singapore on July 31.

MARINE

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