Ian Sample

London: A global network of laboratories is urgently needed to detect outbreaks of bird flu, scientists warned on Thursday.

Researchers have asked the World Health Organization to investigate the possibility of building the labs to avert a pandemic with $1.9 billion funding from developed countries, where surveillance is already in place.

The proposed network of labs would play a key role in preventing the emergence of a strain of avian flu that is easily transmissible between humans.

Jean-Paul Chretien at the U.S. Department of Defence global emerging infections surveillance and response system in Maryland and David Blazes of the U.S. naval medical research centre detachment in Peru, called on the international community to use a disease monitoring network set up by the U.S. military as a model for the global network.

- Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006