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Bird Influenza

Volume 670: debated on Monday 14 March 2005

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asked Her Majesty's Government:How many treatment courses of antivirals they had in stock when Dr Shigeru Omi, head of the World Health Organisation in Asia, made his statement in February that the world is facing the "greatest possible danger" of a bird influenza pandemic and that a major global outbreak is now "overdue"; by when they expect to have the 14.6 million courses, the purchase of which they announced on 1 March; and on what basis that figure was decided. [HL1618]

The United Kingdom has maintained a limited stockpile of amantadine for several years, and purchased 100,000 treatment courses of antiviral drugs for emergency use last year.Of the 14.6 million courses, the purchase of which was announced on 1 March, we expect 7.3 million courses to be available by the end of 2005–06 and the rest to follow as soon as possible during the next financial year.The number of courses ordered is based on an assessment of the likely impact of pandemic influenza in the UK.