IBM, Scripps seek $500M for bird flu research

Published August 6, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH - IBM Corp. and the Scripps Research Institute are asking the federal government for $500-million to research the spread of bird flu, IBM and local officials said.

IBM and San Diego's Scripps have been collaborating on computer models to track the spread of pandemic flu since mid February in what is called Project Check-mate. Now they're asking for federal money as well as $20-million in funds from Palm Beach County and the city of Boca Raton, IBM and local officials told the Palm Beach Post Friday.

Part of the money would go to setting up an IBM supercomputer in Boca Raton, allowing scientists to make sophisticated calculations and model the spread of the flu. The money also would pay to bring in experts from around the world.

Bird flu has killed at least 100 people worldwide since it began spreading in Asia in late 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

Congress has approved $2.3-billion to combat avian flu next year.