MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has asked Beijing to send it a sample of the H749 strain of bird flu that has already killed 17 people across China, Russia’s chief health official said on Thursday.
“We have officially requested China, via the Foreign Ministry, to send us this strain of the virus,” Gennady Onishchenko told journalists.
China has so far confirmed 82 human cases of H7N9 avian influenza since first announcing earlier this month that it had detected the strain in people for the first time. Chinese health officials believe the disease is crossing from humans to birds.
The disease has so far been mainly concentrated in eastern China provinces, although one person has died in Beijing.
There is currently no vaccine to protect against the virus.
“We need to get to work on this virus,” he added.
The World Health Organization has said there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the flu.