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Cablegate: Avian Influenza: Asking the Indonesians to Share

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #1887 2840453
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 100453Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0292
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 3134
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 7833

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001887

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G/AIAG, EAP/MTS, OES
DEPARTMENT ALSO PASS TO HHS/WSTEIGER
CDC FOR COX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU TBIO AMED EAGR PREL WHO ID
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA: ASKING THE INDONESIANS TO SHARE
SAMPLES

(U) FROM AMBASSADOR HUME TO AMBASSADOR JOHN LANGE AND DR.
WILLIAM STEIGER

1. (SBU) You and your teams have made remarkable progress in
consultations with the Indonesians over the avian influenza
sample sharing impasse. I understand both sides are willing
to support a menu of benefits that would be targeted at
developing countries most in need as well as the use of a
uniform materials transfer agreement that allows for
unencumbered sample sharing. We are now at the point where
we are working constructively with the Indonesians and the
Australian chair of the Intergovernmental Meeting on Pandemic
Influenza Preparedness (IGM) to gain support from the rest of
the World Health Organization member states for our joint
position.

2. (SBU) But one unfortunate fact remains: Indonesia is still
not sharing human samples. And neither scientists nor
vaccine manufacturers have access to the vast majority of
Indonesian samples from the past 22 months. Given the
reservations of many WHO members -- and the sheer complexity
of the topic -- it may prove impossible to gain consensus at
the next IGM meeting (whether it occurs in November or
January). In the meantime, the world will remain in the dark
about changes to the virus in Indonesia, the epicenter of
avian influenza.

3. (SBU) We must think creatively on how to get Indonesia to
share samples, using HHS Secretary Leavitt's upcoming
bilateral with Minister of Health Siti Supari on the margins
of the October 25-26 ministerial conference on avian and
pandemic influenza in Egypt to make our proposal. One
possible idea would be to ask Indonesia to release the 51
samples of the cases it has not shared since January 2007.
In return, our Centers for Disease Control could agree on a
bilateral basis to sign the draft materials transfer
agreement we have developed with the Indonesians. We might
also agree to support Indonesia's desire to change the name
of the Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN) to the
World Influenza Network (WIN). Indonesia could decline to
share future samples until the WHO had fully agreed on a new
sample sharing regime.

4. (SBU) Where does this get us? First, it would enable
access to samples we badly need in order to assess the risk
of a pandemic and to develop vaccine. Second, it could
accelerate agreement on a new influenza surveillance network
at the next IGM. Member states would take note if the
country which started the debate and the country most
critical of Indonesia's position agreed on how to end the
impasse.

5. (SBU) There may be flaws with our suggested proposal; for
example, the CDC as a WHO collaborating center may not be
able to sign a materials transfer agreement with Indonesia.
But the underlying goal remains. We must find a way to get
Indonesia to share at least some samples while we work
together to get approval at the IGM for a new system. We
could use the upcoming October 16 videoconference with
Indonesia to float a proposal for further discussion (and
possible agreement) by Secretary Leavitt and Minister Supari
in Egypt. We would be pleased to engage the Indonesians on
an informal basis.
HUME

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