A COVID-19 antibody test is now generally available to Ontario residents, with a doctor’s requisition. The medical laboratory chain Life Labs began offering the Health Canada approved serology test on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Currently available in British Columbia and Ontario, the test costs $75.
However, internal medical expert Dr. Gerald Evans advises that the results of a COVID-19 antibody tests are not always straightforward. He said he can’t think of many clinical circumstances when a doctor would request this information.
“Really it has very little utility in the general practice of medicine,” he said. “Right now the only use that we have for an antibody test, based on the guidelines that are issued, is to use it to investigate children who present with a multi inflammatory syndrome (IMSC)…. That’s really the only clinical utility we have for it,” he said.
He also explained that not everybody who gets COVID-19 exhibits the exact same antibody response, which makes the virus different from others such as measles or chickenpox.
“Most people get something, but some people are what we call ‘low-level responders,’ meaning the levels of antibodies that they get could be below a detection level that we’re looking for.”
“So if you wanted to do this test because you’re saying ‘I recall being ill and I think it was COVID,’ you do an antibody test. If it’s negative, it doesn’t really say that you didn’t have a COVID-19 infection. It may mean that you were one of these people that had a very mild infection and didn’t get a big antibody response.”
He also explained that humans make three different types of antibodies in response to a virus — IgG, IgA, IgM.
“IgM antibodies disappear very quickly. If you’re more than a couple of months out from your infection, you won’t find them. IgA antibodies are super tricky because they go up and down, they disappear, and some people don’t make them at all.”
The IgG antibody, which he said believes the Life Labs antibody tests are based on, is much more stable.
Life Labs CEO Charles Brown called antibody testing “another piece of the puzzle to better understand COVID-19.”
The company also explains on their website that a negative result might mean a person has been infected, but that antibody levels were too low for the test to detect. They note that you might receive a negative result, even after being infected, if not enough time has lapsed since the infection, to allow for antibodies to develop.
“Antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to three to four weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays,” the company said.
Both Dr. Evans and Life Labs note that the test cannot be used to determine a current infection.
“It doesn’t really help in the diagnosis of COVID-19. Antibodies are made after you’re infected or when you’re in that recovery phase,” Dr. Evans said.
Dr. Evans said that typically, the IgG antibodies for the measles can be detected by a test in anyone that has ever had, or been inoculated against, the virus, even years later. They also indicate immunity. In the case of COVID-19, he said, it’s not the same thing.
“We still don’t quite have the exact test that tells us that those antibodies we’re measuring are at a high enough level or are responsible for neutralizing the virus, which would then predict that you’re immune,” he said.
“We’ve found people that even have these antibodies, they may not be in sufficient quantity. Or, it may not be the right antibody that actually protects them and gives them immunity. That’s the big problem.
“You could imagine somebody saying: ‘I’m going to get the test done to show that I’m immune,’ and that’s not really what it’s telling you.”
Life Labs website states that a positive test result does not infer immunity. They recommend getting the blood test three to four weeks after the onset of symptoms, adding that it’s possible to detect antibodies up to four months post-exposure.
“We look forward, to continue building our support for the healthcare system’s response to the pandemic, where Canadians have access to more important COVID-19 information to help them make informed decisions about their health,” Brown said.
Italy consumer association sues Apple for planned iPhone obsolescence – The Journal Pioneer
MILAN (Reuters) – Italian consumer association Altroconsumo said on Monday it had told Apple it has launched a class action against the U.S. tech giant for the practice of planned obsolescence.
In a statement Altroconsumo said it was asking for damages of 60 million euros ($73 million) on behalf of Italian consumers tricked by the practice which had also been recognised by Italian authorities.
Altroconsumo said the lawsuit covers owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, sales of which in Italy totalled some 1 million phones between 2014 and 2020.
Apple said in an email that it had never done anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.
Two similar lawsuits against Apple have been filed in Belgium and Spain for the planned obsolescence of iPhones.
European consumer association Euroconsumers, which is coordinating the three lawsuits, said it was also planning to launch a class action in Portugal in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Elvira Pollina, editing by Louise Heavens)
Huawei Technologies in talks to sell premium smartphone brands P and Mate, sources say – The Globe and Mail
China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in early-stage talks to sell its premium smartphone brands P and Mate, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said, a move that could see the company eventually exit from the high-end smartphone-making business.
The talks between the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and a consortium led by Shanghai government-backed investment firms have been going on for months, the people said, declining to be identified as the discussions were confidential.
Huawei started to internally explore the possibility of selling the brands as early as last September, according to one of the sources. The two sources were not privy to the valuation placed on the brands by Huawei.
Shipments of Mate and P Series phones were worth $39.7 billion between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, according to consultancy IDC.
However, Huawei has yet to make a final decision on the sale and the talks might not conclude successfully, according to the two sources, as the company is still trying to manufacture at home its in-house designed high-end Kirin chips which power its smartphones.
“Huawei has learned there are unsubstantiated rumors circulating regarding the possible sale of our flagship smartphone brands,” a Huawei spokesman said. “There is no merit to these rumors whatsoever. Huawei has no such plan.”
The Shanghai government said it was not aware of the situation and declined to comment further.
The potential sale of Huawei’s premium smartphone lines suggests the company has little hope that the new Biden administration will have a change of heart towards the supply chain restrictions placed on Huawei since May 2019, the two people said.
The Shanghai government-backed investment firms may form a consortium with Huawei’s dealers to take over the P and Mate brands, according to the second person, a similar model to the Honor deal. Huawei is also likely to keep its existing P& Mate management team for the new entity, if the deal goes through, the two people said.
OVERCOMING U.S. CURBS
Huawei, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment vendor and No.2 smartphone maker, last November announced the sale of its budget phone brand Honor to a consortium of 30 dealers led by a company backed by the Shenzhen government.
The second source said the all-cash sale fetched more than 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion). Honor declined to comment.
The Honor sale was aimed at keeping the budget brand alive, as sanctions slapped on Huawei by the United States had hampered the unit’s supply chain and cut off the company’s access to key hardware like chips and software such as Alphabet Inc’s Google Mobile Services.
Huawei may have a similar objective in pursuing the sale of the mobile brands. The two sources said that Huawei’s latest plans for the two high-end brands were motivated by insufficient chip supplies.
Washington says that Huawei is a national security threat, which Huawei has repeatedly denied.
On Friday, Honor indicated that the goal of the spin-off had been reached by announcing it had formed partnerships with chip makers such as Intel and Qualcomm and launched a new phone.
Last year, the company’s Consumer Business Group Chief Executive Richard Yu said U.S. restrictions meant Huawei would soon stop making Kirin chips. Analysts expect its stockpile of the chips to run out this year.
Huawei’s HiSilicon division relies on software from U.S. companies such as Cadence Design Systems Inc or Synopsys Inc to design its chips and it outsources the production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which uses equipment from U.S. companies.
The P and Mate phone series are among the top players in the higher-end smartphone market in China and compete with Apple’s iPhone, Xiaomi Corp’s Mi and Mix series and OPPO’s Find series.
The two brands contributed nearly 40% to Huawei’s total sales over the third quarter of 2020, according to market research firm Counterpoint.
Analysts have already noted recent insufficient supplies of the flagship P40 and Mate40 series due to a severe components shortage.
“We expect a continuous decline in sales of P and Mate series smartphones through Q1 2021,” said Flora Tang, an analyst at Counterpoint.
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India- Realme X7 and X7 Pro teased on Flipkart, launch imminent | NewsBytes – MENAFN.COM
(MENAFN – NewsBytes) Realme X7 and X7 Pro are expected to be launched in India on February 4. In the latest development, Flipkart has activated a microsite for the upcoming handsets, confirming that the Realme 7 series will be available through the e-commerce platform.
As for the highlights, the phones come with a 5G-enabled MediaTek Dimensity chipset, an AMOLED screen, quad rear cameras, and 65W fast-charging technology.
The Realme X7 and X7 Pro sport a punch-hole design with a slim bottom-bezel, an integrated fingerprint sensor, and a quad rear camera setup.
While the X7 bears a 6.4-inch Full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) AMOLED screen, the X7 Pro comes with a 6.55-inch Full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) AMOLED screen with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The X7 and X7 Pro pack a quad rear camera setup comprising a 64MP (f/1.8) primary sensor, an 8MP (f/2.3) wide-angle lens, a 2MP (f/2.4) macro sensor, and a 2MP (f/2.4) depth sensor. On the front, they sport a single 32MP (f/2.5) selfie shooter.
The Realme X7 is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor whereas the Realme X7 Pro is backed by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ chipset. They offer up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage.
The standard X7 packs a 4,300mAh battery while the X7 Pro model houses a 4,500mAh battery. Both the handsets support 65W fast-charging technology via the Type-C port.
At present, all we know is that the Realme X7 series will be available for purchase through Flipkart and is likely to be announced on February 4.
As for the pocket-pinch, the X7 model is expected to carry a price-tag of around Rs. 20,000 while the X7 Pro should cost around Rs. 25,000.
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