Genetic makeup of H1N1 in swine decoded by C.F.I.A.

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Canadian Food Inspection Agency scientists at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease said they have mapped the full genetic sequence of the virus found in swine from Alberta, which will help scientists around the world better understand the virus and its affects on animals. The safety of properly handled and cooked pork is not affected by influenza viruses, they iterated.

C.F.I.A. scientists, in close collaboration with colleagues at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory, said they now have a complete picture of the virus detected in swine on an Alberta farm. This validates early test results and confirms that the virus found in the pigs is the same as the virus causing illness in humans around the world, they added.

The C.F.I.A. will share the diagnostic methods developed to identify the novel H1N1 influenza in swine with provinces and territories, international agencies and other countries to facilitate surveillance and detection activities.

Researchers are now focusing on how the H1N1 flu virus affects swine. Although more studies are needed, early observations suggest that infected animals become sick and recover naturally, just as they would if exposed to influenza viruses commonly seen in swine herds at a global level.

C.F.I.A. research continues to examine whether or not other animals are susceptible to the virus. This information could be used to refine disease prevention and control measures. Studies are also being conducted to assess the effectiveness of current vaccines, and to develop better and faster diagnostic methods, the researchers added.

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