Countries Agree to Share Flu Virus Samples

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GENEVA (AP) - The World Health Organization says countries have agreed on a deal to share flu virus samples after almost four years of fractious talks on the issue.

The WHO says diplomats haggled through the night before reaching agreement early Saturday.

The deal must still be approved at the WHO's annual meeting in Geneva next month.

Developing countries had for years refused to freely share samples of viruses such as bird flu because they claimed drug companies would profit from vaccines their own citizens wouldn't be able to afford.

The deal foresees that drug companies either share the vaccine formula or reserve some of their vaccine production for poor countries in case of a future pandemic.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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