Indonesia would release anti-bird flu vaccine for humans in December next year in an effort to stop the H5N1 virus from spreading, Health Minister Siti Supari Fadillah said here Thursday.
The minister told Xinhua in telephone that the production of the vaccine would start next month and would involve a US-based drug maker, Baxter inc.
"It will begin in January and is expected to be marketed in December," she said, without elaboration.
The minister said that Baxter will cooperate with local company, Biofarma, to produce the vaccine.
Visiting Baxter top officials met with the minister and top officials of the ministry as well as top officials of Biofarma here on Thursday, discussing about the plan.
"We have agreed that we will produce the vaccine," she said.
The domestic drug maker Biofarma has met the qualification of World Health Organization to produce vaccine.
In January the officials from Baxter would return to Indonesia to complete the preparation of the project, the minister said.
Spokesman of the ministry named only Sumardi told Xinhua in telephone that an expert team from Baxter would observe the location of Biofarma factory.
The H5N1 virus has contracted 14 people in Indonesia and spread to 21 provinces out of 33 since late 2003, killing over 10 million fowls.
Indonesia has put concern and a lot of efforts to decline the spread of the bird flu virus, as it has not found yet an effective way to eliminate the spread of the virus, since it was also transmitted by migratory birds.
The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain is endemic in poultry in parts of Asia, which killed nearly 70 people.
Experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily among humans, just like human influenza. If it does, millions could die because they would have no immunity.