The Chinese yuan is ‘a long way’ from achieving reserve currency status: Strategist

first_imgUS dollar and Chinese yuan arranged for a photograph on September 7, 2017.studioEAST | Getty Images SINGAPORE — The Chinese yuan has “a long way” to go before it comes anywhere close to challenging the U.S. dollar‘s status as a reserve currency.That’s according to David Roche, president and global strategist at Independent Strategy.“Dethroning the dollar — which the euro tried to do, and settled at a miserable 18-20% of all the international things that go on — is very, very difficult,” Roche told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.- Advertisement – A number of “almost abstract” conditions, including not having too much leverage in the system as well as the rule of law, need to be met before a currency can achieve reserve status, the strategist said. He added that the Chinese yuan is “a long way from achieving that.”“There is a certain amount of illusion at the moment that the (yuan) — which accounts for 2% of international trade settlements and even less if you come to financial investment flows — that this can take over,” Roche said.He was also skeptical about arguments that the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency will be the “magic potion” that allows the greenback to be knocked off its position as the world’s reserve currency. The digital yuan is part of China’s push toward becoming a cashless society and is issued and controlled by the country’s central bank.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img Such a phenomenon is going to happen, though it will take a “very, very long time,” Roche said: “Don’t be in a rush to play on that particular theme because I think the dollar is gonna sit there for a while yet.”Still, Roche suggested the reserve currency status tends to be “unmerited.”“The U.S. economy has progressively shrunk over the last two decades, it is a smaller proportion of international trade,” he said. “Yet the dollar is an increasing proportion of the settlement of international trade and an even bigger proportion of financial reserves.”Watch: Banks are now ‘almost public utilities,’ says strategist – Advertisement –last_img read more

Micromax In Note 1, Micromax In 1b With MediaTek SoCs Launched in India: Price, Specifications

first_img– Advertisement – Both new Micromax phones will be available for purchase through Flipkart as well as the Micromax website. Moreover, Flipkart and Micromax will start taking registrations for both new models through its sites later today. The Micromax In Note 1 competes with the likes of the Redmi Note 9 and Realme Narzo 20, while the Micromax In 1b comes as a competitor against the likes of the Redmi 9, Poco C3, and the Realme C15.Micromax In Note 1 specificationsThe dual-SIM (Nano) Micromax In Note 1 runs on Android 10 and features a 6.67-inch full-HD+ display and a hole-punch design. Under the hood, the phone has an octa-core MediaTek Helio G85 SoC, coupled with 4GB of RAM. The phone comes with a quad rear camera setup that houses a 48-megapixel primary sensor, along with a 5-megapixel secondary sensor that houses a wide-angle camera. There are also two 2-megapixel sensors for macro shots and depth sensing. Furthermore, the camera setup is paired with an LED flash and is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) backed features, including night vision support.For selfies, the Micromax In Note 1 houses a 16-megapixel camera sensor at the front, with a 78-degree wide-angle lens. The selfie camera sensor is capable of shooting GIFs — alongside regular photos and videos.- Advertisement – Micromax In 1b comes with a waterdrop-style display notch Micromax “In” series has finally been launched in India after much anticipation and a range of teasers. The new series comprises the Micromax In Note 1 and Micromax In 1b that both come with MediaTek chipsets and run on Android 10 with a “complete stock experience”, without any bloatware and ads. Micromax has also promised to offer two years of software updates on the new smartphones. The Gurugram-based company was once a leader in the Indian mobile phone market. However, it bowed out in the growing dominance of Chinese brands including Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi in the country. Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma during the virtual launch showcased the company’s facility in Bhiwadi and detailed the production process of the new smartphones, which are being touted to be part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.Micromax In Note 1, Micromax In 1b price in India, availability detailsMicromax In Note 1 price in India has been set at Rs. 10,999 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, while the 4GB RAM + 128GB storage model of the phone is priced at Rs. 12,499. In contrast, the Micromax In 1b carries a price tag of Rs. 6,999 for the 2GB RAM + 32GB storage variant, whereas its 4GB RAM + 64GB storage version comes at Rs. 7,999. The Micromax In Note 1 comes in Green and White colour options and will go on sale starting November 24. However, the Micromax In 1b flaunts three distinct colour options and will be available from November 26.- Advertisement –center_img The Micromax In Note 1 comes with up to 128GB of onboard storage that is expandable via microSD card. Connectivity options on the phone include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/ A-GPS, USB Type-C, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Besides, it packs a 5,000mAh battery that supports reverse charging as well as 18W fast charging (compatible charger is bundled in the box).Micromax In 1b specificationsThe dual-SIM (Nano) Micromax In 1b runs on Android 10 and features a 6.52-inch HD+ display with a waterdrop-style notch. The phone is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio G35 SoC, paired with 2GB and 4GB of RAM options. In terms of optics, there is a dual rear camera setup that houses a 13-megapixel primary camera sensor with an f/1.8 lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor, along with an LED flash. The Micromax phone also comes with an 8-megapixel selfie camera sensor at the front.micromax in 1b image Micromax In 1b– Advertisement – On the storage front, the Micromax In 1b carries 32GB and 64GB of onboard storage options that both are expandable via microSD card. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/ A-GPS, USB Type-C, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone also features a fingerprint sensor at the back. Lastly, the phone comes with a 5,000mAh battery that supports reverse charging and 10W fast charging (compatible charger is bundled in the box).Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.last_img read more

MacBook Models Based on Apple Silicon to Launch Q2 2021: Report

first_img“It’s about time for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max [to stop production],” Nikkei Asia reported citing anonymous sources, adding that the two models would “affect sales of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.” The source explained that the specifications of iPhone 11 are sufficiently different to avoid that issue.Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. The report suggests that the initial production orders for the first MacBook laptops are equivalent to nearly 20 percent of total MacBook shipments for 2019 that came in at 1.26 crore units. Apple plans to replace Intel microprocessors with its own CPU that is said to be based on the company’s A14 Bionic SoC that is already powering the iPhone 12 series as well as the latest iPad Air models. The report says that Apple looks to completely cut off reliance on Intel in the next two years.Apple’s upcoming CPUs for the MacBook are reportedly designed in-house but produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). They are made by TSMC’s 5-nanometer chip manufacturing technology.Apple has also reportedly asked suppliers to produce more than 2 crore units of iPhone 11, iPhone SE, and iPhone XR handsets from October through the year-end for holiday shopping season and early next year. This is because the iPhone 12 models are facing several supply and production issues due to the pandemic. The report says that the older iPhones produced after October will not come with a charger or wired earphones. Furthermore, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are reported to have reached their end of product life and will no longer be produced.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img Apple has reportedly placed its initial production order of 25 lakh MacBook laptops powered by the rumoured in-house CPU. The suppliers are asked to fulfil the requirements by early 2021. Just like the iPhone, Apple is looking to introduced in-house silicon central processing units on its MacBook range of laptops. A report suggests that new MacBook models powered by the in-house CPU may be launched in the second quarter next year. Apple is also hosting an event on November 10 where new MacBook models are anticipated.In its report, Nikkei Asia stated that Apple won’t introduce new MacBooks powered by the anticipated Apple silicon before the second quarter of 2021. Apple has asked suppliers to produce 25 lakh MacBook laptops with the new CPU by early 2021. This refutes a previous report that claimed that the new Apple silicon-based MacBook laptops were launching at the November 10 event. Apple may just confirm the arrival of these new devices at the event, but availability is now reported for next year.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico celebrate Trump defeat with cries of joy and prayers

first_img– Advertisement – The Trump administration knew exactly what it was doing in forcing asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. immigration courts. After despicably and falsely claiming that the policy has “successfully provided protections” to asylum-seekers, the administration then admitted in court that the policy is in fact forcing people into danger, like advocates have said.A report from a human rights organization at the beginning of the year tracked nearly 820 public reports of violence against returned asylum-seekers, a number that has since grown to over 1,100, BuzzFeed News reported. While the courts blocked the policy in February, the Supreme Court the next month allowed the administration to keep going ahead with enforcing it as litigation continues. But its days are likely numbered.Then-candidate Biden’s immigration plan indicated that Remain in Mexico would be the first of the Trump administration anti-asylum policies to go. But when exactly that will happen is another question. While a recent report said that reinstating the full Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be a Day One priority for Biden, BuzzFeed News reports he would address Remain in Mexico within his first 100 days in office.- Advertisement – That it’s a priority is of course important. It means these families are being heard. But because the outgoing administration has forced them to have to wait for so long already, in complete defiance of U.S. asylum law, their hope and the hope of advocates is that a rescission comes sooner rather than later in those 100 days. “People are just so incredibly happy, so hopeful for the first time,” immigration lawyer Taylor Levy said in the report. She urged advocates to continue pushing the incoming Biden administration for urgent relief for these families. “‘Desperation’ and ‘hopelessness’ have been the prevailing adjectives I would use to describe the asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico, and now there’s just finally hope,” she continued.center_img Jose Lopez, an asylum-seeker from Nicaragua, told BuzzFeed News that the mood at the camp was jubilant. “[P]eople shouted and cried,” the report continued. Some had placed balloons along the Rio Grande that featured the words “Bye Trump” and poop emojis. (It’s okay, you can laugh.) “Others, he said, prayed when the race was called on Saturday.” Like Hidalgo, he said Biden’s victory was also theirs. “We thanked God because he heard our cries,” Lopez told BuzzFeed News. “We were victims of a project that was truly harmful to people’s humanity … We thought we were invisible to the world, but we weren’t to God. We’re overjoyed right now.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

JetBlue to stop blocking seats on board in January

first_img– Advertisement – The carrier joins Southwest Airlines in booking full flights. Southwest last month said it would sell all seats on its flights starting Dec. 1, estimating a $20 million impact to pretax results in October and as much as $60 million in November.“So we’re not able to capture the customer demand that we’re seeing in our markets,” said the carrier’s president, Tom Nealon, on a quarterly call Oct. 22. “So we’re spilling that revenue opportunity.”Delta Air Lines plans to continue to limit capacity on board through at least Jan. 6. Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, told an industry conference on Tuesday the airline would reevaluate the policy closer to that date.“It is easy to get used to having ample space,” said Lentsch. “But clearly, that’s not something we can sustain indefinitely.” JetBlue planes at a gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images Carriers are struggling to drum up revenue and keep their costs down as travel demand hovers around one-third of last year’s levels, according to federal data.JetBlue previously said it would limit on-board capacity from mid-October through Dec. 1 to 70%, up from about 60%. From Dec. 2 through Jan. 7, which includes the holiday period, it will book planes no more than 85% full. Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and COO, said in a staff memo that the end of its seat-blocking policy coincides with the “winter period when demand is typically lower and flights are often less full.”- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement – Get ready to fight over the armrest again.JetBlue Airways on Thursday said it will sell all seats on its flights starting Jan. 8. It is the latest carrier to cite advanced filtration systems on board as reducing the risk of catching Covid-19 on a flight.All airlines require that passengers wear masks on board but have sparred over social distancing on board, in some cases using it in their marketing.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Tony Pulis appointed Sheffield Wednesday manager | Football News

first_img– Advertisement – Pulis succeeds Garry Monk, who was sacked on Monday.More to follow…This is a breaking news story that is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh this page for the latest updates.- Advertisement – Sky Sports brings you live updates as they happen. Get breaking sports news, analysis, exclusive interviews, replays and highlights.Sky Sports is your trusted source for breaking sports news headlines and live updates. Watch live coverage of your favourite sports: Football, F1, Boxing, Cricket, Golf, Tennis, Rugby League, Rugby Union, NFL, Darts, Netball and get the latest transfers news, results, scores and more.Visit or the Sky Sports App for all the breaking sports news headlines. You can receive push notifications from the Sky Sports app for the latest news from your favourite sports and you can also follow @SkySportsNews on Twitter to get the latest updates.- Advertisement –center_img Sheffield Wednesday have appointed Tony Pulis as their new manager.The 62-year-old has been out of management since leaving Middlesbrough at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.- Advertisement –last_img read more

After Jan. 20, Trump loses protection from prosecution—and can’t pre-pardon himself out of it

first_img– Advertisement – While you’re thinking about all that, remember there’s also a civil fraud investigation into Trump’s businesses being conducted by New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office. That’s not going away either.Have a good weekend! But that’s not to say Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance quits looking for Trump crimes. “Vance has been the wild card here,” law professor Stephen Vladeck told the Times. “And there is very little that even a new administration that wants to let bygones be bygones could do formally to stop him.” If he finds crimes, “Trump could face a reckoning with law enforcement — further inflaming political tensions and raising the startling specter of a criminal conviction, or even prison, for a former president.” Just relish that thought for a bit.And then think about the next part: Trump’s pardon power does not extend to state crimes, like Vance is investigating. Sure, he can pardon his whole family, resign, and have Vice President Mike Pence pardon him for any and all past and future federal crimes—also don’t think that hasn’t been schemed—but he’s still vulnerable in New York. Legal observers believe that if Vance finds criminal activity, he’ll prosecute, regardless of politics and Trump’s “stature” as a former president. Not doing so “would put the president above the law,” said Anne Milgram, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan and Democratic attorney general in New Jersey, the wrong message for a sworn defender of the rule of law to send.- Advertisement –last_img read more

WHO renews flu warnings; Thailand has more avian outbreaks

first_imgSep 9, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) this week stepped up its warnings about the risk of an influenza pandemic, while Thailand reported four new outbreaks of avian flu on poultry farms.According to a Reuters report, Dr. Jai P. Narain, director of the WHO’s communicable diseases department, told reporters at a health conference in Sri Lanka on Sep 7, “We may be at almost the last stage before the pandemic virus may emerge.” He was referring to the risk that avian flu in Asia will lead to a human flu pandemic.Narain said it is no longer a question of whether a pandemic will occur, but only when it will erupt.”So far there is only one country in Southeast Asia with a pandemic preparedness plan . . . Thailand,” he was quoted as saying. He added that Thailand has a stockpile of antiviral drugs.The recent spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus to birds in Siberia and Kazakhstan has stirred concern that migratory birds may spread it on to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, thereby increasing the threat of a human pandemic.Thailand has had four new outbreaks of avian flu in poultry since Sep 1, according to the latest government report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), published today. Three outbreaks were in Saraburi province and one was in Kampaengphet province.The report said 109 chickens died of the infection and another 76 were killed to contain the outbreaks. All the birds were free-ranging or in backyard flocks with minimal biosecurity.Thailand has identified 33 avian flu outbreaks in five provinces since Apr 12 of this year, which marked the end of country’s “second wave” of H5N1 outbreaks, according to the report. The country has been conducting nationwide surveillance for the disease since Jul 1. Thailand has had no human cases of H5N1 infection this year, but there were 17 cases with 12 deaths last year.In other developments, the Associated Press reported today that the Netherlands has ordered 5 million doses of antiviral drugs to prepare for a flu pandemic, enough to treat more than 30% of its population of 16 million. The country’s Vaccine Institute has contracts with Roche to provide raw materials to make oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and with GlaxoSmithKline to make zanamivir (Relenza), the story said.The majority of the order is for oseltamivir, which will cost between $37 and $87 per dose, government spokesman Bas Kuik told the AP. He said about half of the order will be ready this year and the rest by the end of next year. The government already has 220,000 doses of oseltamivir, the report said.See also:Thai report to the OIE for Sep 1-8 read more

Adenovirus-based H5N1 vaccine broadly protective in mice

first_imgMay 2, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – An H5N1 influenza vaccine based on a weakened adenovirus was tested successfully in mice and may offer advantages as a tool for combating a human flu pandemic, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Purdue University.The vaccine is grown in mammalian cell cultures and therefore can be produced faster than egg-based vaccines, and it has the potential to provide broad protection against H5N1 viruses, say the researchers.The scientists, led by Mary A. Hoelscher of the CDC as the first author, tested several versions of the vaccine in mice and found that they triggered both humoral (antibody) and cellular immune responses, suggesting that they could offer protection against a range of H5N1 strains. Their report was published in the Apr 15 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.”This approach may prevent severe illness and death or shorten the course of future infection with H5N1 virus strains that are antigenically distinct from currently circulating strains, and it may offer stockpiling advantages that overcome the limitations associated with storage of egg-derived vaccines,” the report says.The authors’ method involves splicing the hemagglutinin (HA) gene from an avian flu virus into a human adenovirus that has been modified so it can’t replicate in the body. Though it can’t replicate, it can enter host cells, according to Hoelscher.In a previous report, published last December, the scientists said a version of their vaccine that contained HA from a 1997 Hong Kong strain of H5N1 induced long-lasting immunity in mice and protected them from more recent H5N1 strains. The study was published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.Vietnam and Indonesia strains usedIn the new study, the researchers made several versions of the adenovirus-based vaccine. One contained HA from a 2004 Vietnam strain of H5N1 virus (a clade 1 virus), while a second contained HA from a 2005 Indonesia H5N1 virus (clade 2). A third vaccine contained HA from the clade 2 strain plus the nucleoprotein gene from the clade 1 strain. Nucleoprotein is a virus component that varies little among different H5N1 strains—unlike HA, a surface protein that mutates often.Still another version of the vaccine contained the nucleoprotein gene but no HA gene, and a control version contained the adenovirus without any flu virus genes.Groups of 20 mice were injected with the vaccines (one vaccine per group), and another group was given both the clade 1 and clade 2 vaccines (in half doses). In addition, two more groups were vaccinated with one of two viruses generated through reverse genetics. These contained the HA and neuraminidase genes from either the clade 1 or the clade 2 H5N1 virus along with other genes from a human-adapted flu virus and were labeled C1RG and C2RG.The mice received two doses of vaccine 4 weeks apart. Four weeks after the second dose, five mice from each group were challenged with a high intranasal dose of the C1RG or C2RG virus, both of which can replicate in mice but do not cause clinical disease. The lungs of these mice were analyzed for presence of the virus, while spleen cells from other mice were tested for evidence of cellular immune responses.Serum tests showed that the mice given the clade 1 or clade 2 vaccine produced antibodies against wild-type virus of the same clade but not against the other clade. The mice that received both vaccines had antibodies against both clades, but the titer was cut in half.Evidence of cellular immune responseIn the mice that were challenged with the C1RG and C2RG viruses, the HA-containing vaccines led to clearance of virus from the lungs, as virus amounts were near or below the level of detection, the report says. The finding that mice vaccinated against only one H5N1 clade had lungs clear of virus from the other clade, despite a lack of antibodies against the latter, suggests that some mechanism other than neutralizing antibody response may have contributed to viral clearance, the authors write. They suggest that cell-mediated immune responses might have played a role.Further, they report finding specific evidence of a cellular immune response in the mice that received the HA-containing vaccines: They had significantly higher levels of CD8+ T cells specific to a certain region (epitope) of the HA protein than did mice that received a vaccine with no HA.”We demonstrated that the adenoviral vector–based strategy elicited cell-mediated CD8+ T cell immune responses as well as neutralizing antibodies against C1 and C2 strains, thereby broadening the vaccine’s coverage,” the report says.CDC researcher Suryaprakesh Sambhara, senior author of the study, told CIDRAP News his team chose the adenovirus vector because it has already been used in a number of clinical trials. He said the approach used in the study has been licensed to PaxVax Inc., a San Diego company, which intends to launch a clinical trial later this year.”In the event of a pandemic, we can make a vaccine in a relatively short period of time,” Sambhara said. With cell-culture production, he estimates it would be possible to start producing vaccine in quantity within 1 to 2 months after a seed virus becomes available. By comparison, experts typically say it would take 4 to 6 months to provide a pandemic vaccine using the conventional egg-based technology.Will it work in humans?Gregory A. Poland, MD, a vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., called the report promising but offered some caveats.”The concept of the technology is a promising one,” he said. “A lot of scientists in this area have hope that this will be one way we can rapidly produce a broadly protective vaccine.”However, he added, “This is a mouse study, and mice lie. It really is another issue altogether whether it’ll work in humans.” Poland is a professor of medicine in infectious diseases at the Mayo College of Medicine and director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology.One potential obstacle, he said, is that laboratory mice have no previous exposure to the adenovirus serotype 5 used in the vaccine, but half or more of humans have been exposed to it and thus have neutralizing antibodies. If a vaccine based on the same adenovirus were used in humans, their existing antibodies might bind to and neutralize it before it could trigger the desired immune response, he said. He suggested that the next step should be to test the vaccine in mice that have already been exposed to the adenovirus.Poland said the evidence of cellular immune responses in the study is of interest. There is some previous evidence of cell-mediated immune responses to flu in humans, but it’s not widely known or accepted, he explained. “What the study showed is that this vaccine induced humoral and cell-mediated immunity; it caused viral clearance from the lung. So it’s a very interesting study.”But it’s not clear how important a contribution cell-mediated immunity might make, in Poland’s view. “What I want is a vaccine that prevents infection, not one that clears it after it’s established, because you might die before then,” he said.Hoelscher MA, Singh N, Garg S, et al. A broadly protective vaccine against globally dispersed clade 1 and clade 2 H5N1 influenza viruses. J Infect Dis 2008 Apr 15:1185-8 [Abstract]See also: Hoelscher, Jayashankar L, Garg S, et al. New pre-pandemic influenza vaccines: an egg- and adjuvant-independent human adenoviral vector strategy induces long-lasting protective immune responses in mice. Clin Pharmacol Therapeutics 2007 Dec;82(6):665-70 [Full text]2007 CIDRAP News series “The pandemic vaccine puzzle”last_img read more

Flu virus’s likely human-to-swine jump triggers concern

first_img At a news briefing yesterday, Peter Ben Embarek of the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus isolated from the swine does not appear to differ from the virus spreading among humans. “There is no sign that it has changed at all. But this could of course happen like with any other flu viruses,” he said. He added that it’s important to increase surveillance in humans and animals so as to detect any mutations. May 2 USDA statement Dec 20, 2007, CIDRAP News story about swine as mixing vessel Canadian authorities said on May 2 that preliminary testing detected the virus in an Alberta herd and that it probably came from a Canadian carpenter who works on the farm and had a flu-like illness when he returned from a visit to Mexico in mid-April May 4 FAO statement At the WHO briefing, Ben Embarek said at least two laboratories are experimentally exposing pigs to the new virus to see how it affects them. Also, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said today it is awaiting the results of experiments to determine the susceptibility of various animals to the H1N1 virus. Dr. Brian Evans of the Canadian Food inspection Agency (CFIA) said the worker had contact with the pigs on Apr 14 and that about 220 pigs in the herd of 2,200 began showing signs of sickness on Apr 24, according to a Canadian Press report. The FAO advised that when swine show signs of respiratory illness, operators should use strict biosecurity measures, including restricting the movement of pigs, goods, and people. May 2 CFIA statement May 3 WHO briefing transcript “The human-to-animal transmission that occurred in Canada does not come as a surprise as influenza viruses are capable of transmitting from humans to animals,” said Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement today. See also: The Canadian finding added to fears in some quarters about the safety of pork, given that the illness caused by the new virus infecting people in 21 countries is unofficially called swine flu. Despite repeated official assurances that proper cooking destroys any flu viruses in pork, ten countries have banned Canadian pork products since the Alberta finding, CBC News reported today. China specifically banned pork from Alberta.center_img The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said pork and pork products remain safe and the finding would not affect US trade with Canada. “Reassortment is a concern that people express because pigs have their own influenza virus, so if they get infected with this [human] one, do you have to worry about other reassortant viruses coming out? Yes, it seems that would be a risk,” said David A. Halvorson, PhD, a veterinarian and avian influenza expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Humans occasionally pick up influenza viruses from pigs. Reports of human-to-pig transmission are apparently rare, but such cases are assumed to happen. Also, people who work with pigs should not go to work if they have any signs of respiratory disease, fever, or any flu-like illness, the FAO said. At the same time, the agency said there is “absolutely no need to slaughter animals” to prevent the spread of the novel H1N1 virus. “We really don’t know how common that might be; there’s no way of knowing that,” said Halvorson. “We do know that pigs have been harboring a virus that has genes form human viruses in it. Those genes had to come from someplace, and presumably they came from a human flu virus getting into pigs.” He said the virus, an influenza A/H3N2 subtype, has been found in pigs in many parts of the United States. The carpenter has recovered and the pigs were recovering, the CFIA said. The farm has been quarantined. Canada’s trade minister, Stockwell Day, called China’s action “disappointing and unwarranted,” the CBC reported. A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) statement said the worker’s family also had a flu-like illness but were recovering. The agency said it would take anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks to get the final test results on the Canadian herd. Global animal and human health officials said the Canadian finding is not a big surprise. Pigs are often infected with flu viruses, including strains from humans and birds. They are described as a mixing vessel where different viruses can trade genes (reassort) and produce new variants. The novel H1N1 virus itself has been said to contain genetic material from swine, avian, and human flu viruses. May 4, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The tentative detection of the novel swine influenza H1N1 virus in an Alberta swine herd over the weekend shook Canada’s pork industry and raised concern about the potential for new hybrid viruses to emerge. Meanwhile, the USDA said it is “actively working to develop an H1N1 vaccine for swine, just as the CDC is doing for humans.”last_img read more