The World Health Organization on Wednesday estimated that developing vaccines and boosting production of antivirals to fight a flu pandemic will cost about US$500 million (Ђ425 million) over the next three to four years.
The cost will be in addition to the US$1 billion (Ђ850 million) that the World Bank said would be needed to control the current bird flu outbreak and prepare for a possible human pandemic, according to Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's top official in charge of monitoring bird flu.
The estimate came as delegates from more than 100 countries agreed at the end of a three-day conference on key steps that must taken because of the threat posed by the bird flu outbreak, according to the AP.
"We have plans on paper, but we must now test them," said Dr. Lee Jong-wook, WHO director-general. "Once a pandemic virus appears, it will be too late."