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New Flu Virus Found In China Has Pandemic Potential, Says Scientists

The new strain reportedly has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus."

  • Researchers have discovered a new strain of flu in China among pigs.
  • According to them, the G4 EA H1N1 can “infect humans” and has the potential to be a pandemic.
  • Monitoring humans, especially swine industry workers, should be done immediately to help control the virus.

While the world is still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, scientists in China have discovered a new strain of flu that has the potentials of triggering another one. According to researchers, the new virus is “carried by pigs, but can infect humans,” BBC reported.

Now called as the G4 EA H1N1, this swine flu strain has a genotype that “resembles the 2009 H1NI pandemic.” It also has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” said authors and scientists from Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, we read:

“Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus. Thus, systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is a key measure for pre-warning the emergence of the next pandemic influenza”

Scientists then suggested that “controlling the viruses in pigs and close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in swine industry, should be urgently implemented.”

James Wood, who leads Cambridge University’s veterinary medicine department, shared this should be “a salutary reminder that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals – with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife – may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.”

Although the new virus is still not considered an immediate threat, Professor Kin-Chow Chang of UK’s Nottingham University said we shouldn’t “ignore” it at all.

“Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses,” he remarked.

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