The Lancet, a renowned British medical journal, will hold a forum on "Preparing for Pandemic Influenza: the Avian Dimension and other Emerging Threats" in Singapore on May 3-4 this year.
"Our objectives for the meeting are to provide clinicians and policy makers with the most up-to-date information to allow them to prepare for the next influenza pandemic, and to identify gaps in pandemic preparations," said John McConnell, editor of the Lancet Infectious Diseases, at a media conference held in Singapore on Wednesday.
Speaking through a web video camera, McConnell said that 22 experts from 11 countries and regions have agreed to deliver speeches at the forum, which include John Oxford from St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London hospital and Klaus Stohr from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Participants will discuss topics such as the evolution of avian flu viruses, the development of vaccines against flu pandemic, WHO 's planning, non-pharmaceutical control options, as well as communication to the public and between nations.
Doctors and officials from countries affected by the H5N1 avian flu, such as Vietnam and Thailand, will share their experience in fighting the disease and dealing with human cases, according to K. Satkunantham, director of Medical Services, Singapore Ministry of Health.
Since the re-emergence of the H5N1 avian flu virus in Asia in 2003, the WHO has reported a total of 148 confirmed human cases as of January 14 this year, of which some 80 people have died.
It is feared that a future bird flu pandemic might claim millions of lives worldwide and incur hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars of loss on world trade.