Tue, 28 Apr 2009 09:46:25 GMT
As swine flu continues to take its toll, claims surface that the deadly four-part flu virus could have been created for "bio-terror attacks."
Speaking at a conference to reassure the public over hers government's response to the swine flu threat, Indonesian Heath Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said Tuesday that the controversial virus could have been man-made.
She declined to elaborate on her claim but she had previously accused Western governments of making and spreading viruses in the developing world to boost pharmaceutical companies' profits, AFP reported.
"I'm not sure whether the virus was genetically engineered but it's a possibility," Supari said.
Supari assured Indonesians that the deadly virus could not survive in tropical countries like Indonesia which was the worst hit country by the bird flu virus.
"H1N1 survives in countries with four seasons. The type A H1N1 virus hopefully won't be able to sustain itself once it enters the tropical climate of Indonesia," she added.
No cases of swine flu have been reported in Indonesia. It has banned imports of live pigs and pork products.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised its pandemic alert to level four, which means the virus is capable of significant human-to-human transmission. The virus has so far killed nearly 150 people in Mexico and has been reported in eleven countries, including Mexico, the US and Spain.
Several other countries from Colombia to New Zealand are investigating suspected cases.
Health experts say the virus comes from the same strain of virus that causes seasonal outbreaks in humans. They point out that this newly-detected version, which is highly contagious and fast-mutating, also contains
genetic material from the types of influenza that afflict swine and birds.