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Swine flu vaccine access biased 'in favor of affluence': WHO Chief
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Poverty will stop some countries gain access to swine flu vaccines, said the head of World Health Organization.

WHO chief Margeret Chan said Tuesday: "manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccines is finite and woefully inadequate for a world of 6.8 billion people, nearly all of whom are susceptible to infection by this entirely new and highly contagious virus."

"The lion's share of these limited supplies will go to wealthy countries. Again we see the advantage of affluence. Again we see access denied by an inability to pay," she told delegates attending a World Intellectual Property Organization conference.

Access to life-saving interventions such as antiviral is "biased in favor of affluence." The discovery of H1N1 infections that resist the antiviral Tamiflu and the global scramble for pandemic vaccine shows the importance of innovation in keeping pace with the emergence of new diseases, Chan said.

(Agencies via Xinhua July 16, 2009)

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