The Indonesian Health Minister has claimed the U.S. is using bird flu samples to produce biological weapons.
The United States has rejected the claims.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is understood to have ordered the minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, to recall copies of her book on avian influenza, which alleges the US and the WHO are conspiring against developing countries by seizing control of bird flu samples.
A U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Susan Stahl, denied Dr Supari’s claim that Indonesian virus samples had been sent to a biological weapons laboratory in Los Alamos. The laboratory possessed no bird flu viruses from Indonesia or elsewhere.
Dr Supari yesterday continued to say virus samples had been sent via the WHO to the laboratory in Los Alamos, adding,
"Whether they use it to make vaccine or develop chemical weapons would depend on the need and interest of the US Government. It is indeed a very dangerous situation for the destiny of humanity."
The WHO’s assistant director-general for Health Security, David Heymann,said he was puzzled by the claims, adding,
"I don’t understand why they would take this virus to make a biological weapon; it doesn’t transmit from human to human. Indonesia needs to spend more time on dealing with infections with chickens and stopping humans from being infected."