The Chinese arm of Roche Holding AG said in a statement Tuesday that Tamiflu supplies are "now being transferred to China's Ministry of Health for centralized allocation and distribution." In the event of a possible human flu pandemic, Roche said, "the government is in the best position to handle rapid response and distribution" of Tamiflu, one of the few drugs believed to be effective against bird flu.
China hasn't reported any infections in humans with the virulent H5N1 strain of the virus, which has killed at least 62 people elsewhere in Asia. But health officials say a case is inevitable if China can't stop repeated outbreaks in poultry.
Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang ordered local officials to step up efforts to prevent human infections and preparations to treat possible cases, the official Xinhua News Agency said. In a nationwide video conference, Mr. Gao told officials "to strengthen work at three key links, namely monitoring, control and treatment," Xinhua said. Mr. Gao ordered local health departments to share information and, in the event of a human infection, to use traditional Chinese medications, the report said. It didn't give any other details.
From the WSJ. The same article provides some details on the latest human death in Vietnam:
In Hanoi, meanwhile, an official in Vietnam's Health Ministry said the nation had confirmed its 42nd human death from bird flu. The 35-year-old man, who died at a Hanoi hospital on Oct. 29, tested positive for the H5N1 strain, said Nguyen Van Binh, deputy director of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Binh said the man was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 26, four days after his family bought a prepared chicken from a market near his house in the Dong Da District of Hanoi. Other family members didn't show any symptoms of bird flu, he added.