The tale of the Indonesian 'tree man’ shows how politics is affecting disease control

tree root man
‘Tree Root Man’ shows his deformed hands. Click for larger image.

This man’s story is simply heartbreaking. We applaud the efforts of the American doctor who wants to help, but the truth is any viral samples brought into the US could well end up in a government lab. — PID

Feb 22, 2008 (THE TELEGRAPH) — A doctor hears of a man who is afflicted by bizarre, grotesque tree root-like growths on his hands and feet, and tracks him down to the jungle. Through careful analysis and painstaking detective work, the doctor discovers the reason for the man’s affliction and begins to develop a cure. /SNIP/ But Indonesia’s health minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, argues that developing nations risk exploitation unless they maintain control over their virus strains. Indeed, previously she has refused to share bird flu samples with other countries in case they use them to produce expensive vaccines. Full Report and Video