Bush outlines $7.1 billion plan to protect U.S. against bird flu

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President Bush said he will take a $7.1 billion national avian flu strategy to Congress that includes stockpiling antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza and passing liability protection for vaccine makers.
Bush sketched out the plan at a press conference at the National Institutes of Health this week, saying he wants to stockpile $1 billion worth of antiviral drugs to help treat first responders and populations at early risk from a possible pandemic.
Antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, from Roche, and Relenza, from GlaxoSmithKline, are designed to reduce the severity of the illness.
The $7 billion package also includes $2.8 billion to accelerate development of cell-culture technology, intended to enable production of enough vaccine for every American within six months of the start of a pandemic, and $583 million for state and local officials to develop
pandemic emergency plans.
Following Bush's remarks, Roche said it is prepared to supply the national stockpile and will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate a delivery schedule based on the number of treatments ordered. Bush earmarked another $251 million to help foreign countries participating in an international disease surveillance partnership to train personnel and enhance other plans.
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