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Scientific American Examines Efforts To Increase Influenza Virus Monitoring In Pigs To Prevent Pandemics In Humans

Scientific American examines how, in an attempt to improve early recognition of viruses that could give rise to pandemics in people, such as last year’s H1N1 swine flu, scientists are looking to better understand “the viruses that infect the estimated 941 million domesticated pigs around the world.” However, as the article notes, “[i]ntensive monitoring of pig viruses is unlikely to come any time soon … Most pork-producing countries do not test their pigs at all, and in some that do—such as the U.S.—the testing is done on behalf of the pork producers, who have little economic incentive to share what they find. The reason: pig farmers know pork prices plummet when pigs and flu are linked in the news.”

Also In Global Health News: Bird Flu In Hong Kong; Counterfeit Drugs In Africa; Dep. Sec. Of State For Management, Resources; HIV/AIDS In S. Africa; World Toilet Day

Bird Flu Case In Hong Kong Isolated Health officials in Hong Kong confirmed on Monday that the woman diagnosed with H5N1 (bird) flu after a trip to China this month is now in stable condition and did not contract a new strain of the virus, SAPA/DPA/Mail & Guardian report. Additionally, her case appears…

Also In Global Health News: Nigerian Drug Institute Funding; Food Security, Climate Change; Heat-Stable, Nasal Vaccine Works In Mice; Task-Shifting In Swaziland; Bird Flu In Hong Kong

Nigerian Drug Research Institute Halts Research Because Of Funding Shortfall Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), which focuses on developing traditional herbal remedies into drug candidates, has had to discontinue research after the Nigerian health ministry did not provide the full amount of expected funding and a “key grant…

Also In Global Health News: IDUs In Kenya; Haiti Recovery; Pandemic Preparedness; Somalia Hunger; HIV In Mozambique; Strengthening Immune System Against HIV

Kenya Drafts Policy To Address HIV In IDUs In Kenya, “[i]ntravenous drug users (IDUs) have been largely ignored by the government’s HIV programmes on the basis that drug-taking is illegal, but a new policy is being drafted with the aim of reducing HIV transmission among this high-risk group,” IRIN/PlusNews reports.…

WHO Releases H1N1 Emergency Committee Roster

Five of the fifteen experts advising the WHO on H1N1 (swine flu) had ties to the pharmaceutical industry, “including for flu vaccine research,” according to the Emergency Committee members’ list released by the agency Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports.

News Outlets Look At How H1N1 Will Inform WHO’s Future Outbreak Response

Following the WHO’s decision on Tuesday to declare the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic over, several news outlets reviewed the emergence of the virus around the world, exploring how some of the lessons learned from H1N1 could assist the WHO’s handling of future outbreaks.

WHO Declares End Of H1N1 Pandemic

“World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan announced Tuesday the end of the [H1N1] swine flu pandemic, more than a year after it was declared,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The world is no longer in phase 6 of influenza pandemic alert. We are now moving into the post-pandemic period,” Chan said during a virtual press conference from Hong Kong, according to a WHO press release.

Sec. Of State Clinton Participates In ASEAN Forum; ASEAN Health Ministers Meet

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Vietnam on Thursday to participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional forum and to mark the 15th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, VOV News reports. According to the news service, this is Clinton’s first visit to the country since she became secretary of state. During her trip, she will have meetings with Deputy Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem (7/22).