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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that it is moving towards creating a global stockpile of vaccine for the H5N1 avian influenza virus and planning containment measures in the event of a pandemic.

Aside from developing the stockpile, WHO stated that it is formulating rapid containment plans that include public health measures such as quarantine and isolation.

Making the announcement, WHO welcomed the news that GlaxoSmithKline has committed to contributing to the stockpile, in addition to assistance from Omnivest, Baxter and Sanofi Pasteur.

Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the organisation, said: 'This is another significant step towards creating a global resource to help the world and especially to help developing countries in case of a major outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza.'

Earlier in the year, the Institute of Food Science & Technology in Germany said that wearing face masks may be a possible way to protect against the spread of the virus in the event of a pandemic.

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