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Researchers say H1N1 virus jumped to humans months ago

first_imgJun 11, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – At almost the same moment today that the World Health Organization announced recognition of an influenza pandemic, researchers from Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States declared that the novel H1N1 virus responsible has been circulating undetected in humans for months—and that its components have been present in pigs for at least a decade.The group, led by Andrew Rambaut, PhD, of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology, said in a letter to the journal Nature that their findings demonstrate the critical need to ramp up disease-detection efforts in animals: “Despite widespread influenza surveillance in humans, the lack of systematic swine surveillance allowed for the undetected persistence and evolution of this potentially pandemic strain for many years.”If better surveillance had existed, they suggest, the first flu pandemic in 41 years might have been detected much earlier—because the novel H1N1 strain’s evolution tracks with the emergence of earlier and (as yet) more destructive pandemic strains.”All three pandemics of the 20th century seem to have been generated by a series of multiple reassortment events in swine or humans, and to have emerged over a period of years before pandemic recognition,” they write. “Our results show that the genesis of the [swine-origin influenza A H1N1 virus] epidemic followed a similar evolutionary pathway.”The study is the third in 3 weeks to pinpoint the origin of the novel H1N1 strain of flu in pigs in North America, where it underwent complex reassortment. On May 22, a group of 60 scientists led by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the journal Science an analysis of full or partial genomes from 76 viral isolates. And on June 4, scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Illinois published in Eurosurveillance an analysis of 400 protein sequences.Taken together, the three papers demonstrate an uncharacteristic scientific openness that has been allowing analysis of the novel flu to move at a record pace. In the case of today’s paper, its authors have been posting their findings piece by piece on the Internet, in a multi-author wiki (http://tree.bio.ed.ac.uk/groups/influenza/), and their paper was released by Nature without embargo, in what the journal termed a “near-final version.”To reach their results, Rambaut and colleagues compared the downloaded genetic sequences of 2 isolates of the novel flu, 15 newly sequenced Asian swine flu strains, and 796 human, swine, and avian flu isolates. In addition, using a “molecular clock” technique, they calculated the rate of viral evolution of 30 isolates of the novel flu.Their study yielded a reconstruction of the sequence of reassortment events that produced the new strain. It graphically depicts how braided and complex the evolution of the novel flu has been. Along with it, they publish phylogenetic analyses (“family trees”) for the major genomic segments of the new virus that, by depicting the time gaps between known isolates, illustrate how little surveillance of swine influenza has been carried out.They conclude that the eight genomic segments of the novel H1N1 have been circulating in swine populations for a number of years, from 9.24 years at the shortest (for the PB1 gene) to 17.15 years at the outside (for the NA gene).The complete virus, they estimate, has been circulating in humans since approximately January 2009, and may have emerged as early as August 2008.”This genomic structure may have been circulating in pigs for several years before emergence in humans,” they said. “We urge caution in making inferences about human adaptation on the basis of the ancestry of the individual genes.”Movement of live pigs between Eurasia and North America is likely to have facilitated viral reassortment, they said. Notably, they found a striking resemblance to the novel H1N1 in a 2004 swine influenza isolate from Hong Kong that contained 7 out of 8 genes similar enough for them to dub it a “sister lineage.” They caution though that this does not prove a Eurasian origin for the new flu, but only provides evidence that its swine-flu progenitors were widely geographically distributed.Smith GJD, Vijaykrishna D, Bahl J, et al. Origins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza A epidemic. Nature 2009 (advance online publication Jun 11) [Abstract]See also: May 22 CIDRAP News story “Genetic study: Novel H1N1 likely originated in pigs”Garten RJ, Davis CT, Russell CA, et al. Antigenic and genetic characteristics of swine-origin 2009 A (H1N1) influenza viruses circulating in humans. Science 2009 (early online publication May 22) [Abstract]Jun 8 CIDRAP News story “Flu researchers call for enhanced swine surveillance”Nava GM, Attene-Ramos MS, Ang JK, et al. Origins of the new influenza A (H1N1) virus: time to take action. Eurosurveillance 2009 Jun 4;14(22) [Full text]last_img read more

ICPC Summons AFN’s Technical Director, Adeleye over ‘Missing’ IAAF Money

first_imgJust last week, Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, refunded the excess $130,000 that has become an international embarrassment on the image of the country.While repaying the money, Dare promised to get to the root of the matter.But yesterday, the anti-graft agency, summoned Adeleye to appear before it today in connection with the 2017 CAA Grand Prix in Ozoro and the Warri Relays which the AFN leadership claimed to have spent part of the IAAF ‘missing’ money to organise.In the ICPC letter to AFN with ref Number: ICPC/INV/NGB/T.AF1/103 and signed by acting HOD (Investigation), Prince Hassan Mohammed, Adeleye was asked to come with certified true copies of all expenditures related to the Grand Prix and Warri Relays two years ago to its office.ICPC insisted that since the investigation was in connection with alleged violation of its Act 2000, there was the need for the AFN technical director to come to their office with either a lawyer or a justice of Peace ((JP).Before Adeleye’s invitation, the secretary general of the AFN when the money was wrongly credited to the federation, Amaechi Akawo, had similarly been invited by the ICPC.Spokesperson of ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in Abuja on Monday that the money belonged to the IAAF.“ICPC had received a petition alleging that he had failed to account for 130, 000 dollars mistakenly paid into the account of AFN in 2017 by IAAF.“IAAF had in a letter to AFN in March 2017, volunteered to grant 20, 000 dollars to the federation towards the successful hosting of the CAA Grand Prix Competition in Delta State, popularly known as 2017 Warri Relay Competition.“However, the international body for athletics while fulfilling the pledge, mistakenly paid $150, 000 to AFN in May, 2017, a sum which was far in excess of the $20, 000 grants it had earlier pledged.”ICPC explained that the IAAF quickly wrote to its Nigerian counterpart two months after the payment admitting the mistake, and promptly requested that the 130, 000 dollar excess be returned forthwith.Akawo claimed that the entire $130, 000 was spent on hosting the competition that held in July, 2017.“Details available to the commission (ICPC) have revealed several transactions on the account, which were originated by the Secretary General moments after the payment of the money.“ICPC found out that Akawu, acting without AFN Board, got several approvals for the release of the money through a series of letters to the then Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung.“On different occasions, he requested for and got approval for the release of N30.4 million, N4.9 million and $20, 000 all in the month of July, 2017 as expenses for the competition.“He also requested for N9.5 million in the same period, but N5 million was approved by the then Permanent Secretary,” the commission added.The ICPC said the suspect had yet to furnish it with proof of the expenditures, telling investigators that he had submitted all documents on how the 130, 000 dollars was spent by AFN to the minister.It stated that Akawu was detained on Oct. 22 following his arrest and was released on administrative bail the next day.His release was to enable him to submit some vital documents that were requested by investigators handling the case, according to the statement.Adeleye who is taking his turn to appear before ICPC investigators was recalled from the last IAAF World Championship in Doha for his alleged poor handling of the disqualification of Divine Oduduru and Blessing Okagbare.Double Commonwealth Games sprint champion, Okagbare and NCAA champion Oduduru were thrown out of the championship by the IAAF following their failure to appear on the starting block of the 100 metres women and men events respectively.The duo were erroneously entered for the events by the AFN even when they had made known their intentions to concentrate on the 200m and the relays at the championships.They were later reinstated on appeal but the distraction caused the duo inabilities to make impact in their area of strength.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Duro IkhazuagbeThe Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has invited the Technical and Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Sunday Adeleye, to appear before it today in Abuja.THISDAY exclusively learnt from ICPC sources last night that the invitation of Adeleye may not be unconnected with the $150,000 which the world athletics body, IAAF wrongly credited to the Nigerian federation account instead of the $20,000 grant. Sunday Adeleye last_img read more