Ban Ki-moon urges private sector to help combat swine flu

May 19th, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, May 19 (DPA) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that cooperation was needed from the private sector to tackle the influenza A(H1N1) virus, also called swine flu.
Ban was addressing delegates at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, just after a meeting he held with the representatives of some 30 pharmaceutical companies.

UN officials said the meeting focused on production capacities of the companies for anti-viral drugs and vaccines. Experts expect the first vaccines for the A(H1N1) virus to be ready for production within several months.

Also, Ban was looking at options for poorer countries who would have trouble procuring the drugs.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan also attended the meeting.

“Partnerships with the private sector are absolutely vital going forward,” Ban said. “That is why Chan and I met this morning with the executives of the main vaccine producers.”

The head of the UN also stressed the need for countries to continue to cooperate and share information on the virus.

He also slammed certain restrictions on trade and travel which were imposed by some countries following the outbreak of the new virus, calling them “self-defeating”.

The World Health Assembly is the annual high-level meeting of the 193-member WHO. It is meeting in Geneva for the 62nd annual meeting.

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