Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus
When I saw this story on a website some days ago, but was unable to find any one else writing about it, I thought it might just be another of the whirlwind of unproven stories that find a home on the internet. Now, the Toronto Sun has picked up on the story.
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.
And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.
“At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.
“But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”
The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.
With all of the talk about the pandemic possiblity of H5N1 mutating into something out of a Stephen King novel, I'm just shaking my head in wonder at the utter stupidity of Baxter International.