Last weekend the AP bureau chief in Jakarta - Robin McDowell - wrote an article that revealed that the United States had rules that barred the export of vaccine for avian influenza, yellow fever, and other pathogens to five countries on the `sponsors of terrorism' list.
This article has been widely reprinted, and has been the subject of a number of blogs. I wrote about it last Saturday in From the `We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us' Department.
Today CIDRAP (Center For Infectious Disease Research & Policy) News takes a more in-depth look at these regulations, in an article written by News Editor Robert Roos.
I've only included the opening paragraphs, please follow the link to read the entire article. In it you'll find comments made by Bill Hall, an HHS spokesman in Washington, Ian Ramshaw, an immunology and biosecurity expert at Australian National University in Canberra, and Michael Osterholm of CIDRAP.
Robert Roos News Editor
Oct 17, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A recent Associated Press (AP) report revealed that, in the name of preventing biological attacks, the United States has rules barring the exportation of vaccines for avian influenza, smallpox, yellow fever, and many other pathogens to five countries classified as sponsors of terrorism.
Under Department of Commerce rules, vaccines for a long list of viruses, bacteria, and biological toxins cannot be exported to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria unless they obtain a special export license, which can take weeks.
Pandemic flu vaccines are not restricted under the rules. But the Department of Commerce confirmed that—as reported by the AP—Cuba, Iran, and Sudan are subject to a ban on pandemic flu vaccines as part of general US trade embargoes covering nearly all products. Those embargoes are based on "broader foreign policy reasons," said Kevin Kurland, a spokesman for the department's Bureau of Industry and Security.
The list of pathogens subject to the rules includes many viruses, some of which are little known and some of which there is no vaccine for. Examples, besides those mentioned, are the viruses that cause dengue fever, Ebola fever, Marburg fever, Rift Valley fever, and monkeypox. A list of animal pathogens covered by the restrictions includes highly pathogenic avian flu viruses.
Bacterial pathogens on the restricted list include anthrax and the microbes that cause tularemia and plague. Not on the list are the causes of common vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and seasonal influenza.