New flu with pandemic potential found in China by scientists

Swine flu strain with human pandemic potential increasingly found in Chinese pigs

According to Science, while there are mammal-related strains mixed in the new flu virus, its core is a form of bird flu to which humans, pigs and other mammals are vulnerable.

"We just do not know a pandemic is going to occur until the d-n thing occurs", he said. "Will this one do it?"

Writing in the American journal, PNAS, researchers said the strain possesses "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans".

Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009.

As with Covid-19, because it is new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus. "From the data presented, it appears that this is a swine influenza virus that is poised to emerge in humans", says Edward Holmes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney who studies pathogens.

The researchers called for close monitoring of the new strain.

Between 2011 and 2018, analysts took almost 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses across 10 Chinese provinces, providing them to segregate 179 swine flu viruses. The samples helped the researchers isolate 179 swine flu viruses.

Swine flu strain with human pandemic potential increasingly found in Chinese pigs
Scientists warn new virus in pigs has potential pandemic risk

"Of concern is that swine workers show elevated seroprevalence for G4 virus".

"Such infectivity greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses", the scientists say. Meanwhile, if researchers were to notice an uptick in G4-caused flu cases, they could quickly move to develop antivirals and vaccines against it.

Influenza viruses frequently jump from pigs to humans, but most do not then transmit between humans.

Scientists have identified another emerging flu virus in China that poses "the risk of a human pandemic", while the world continues to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

"Influenza can surprise us", Nelson told Science. A new influenza strain is something disease experts have been expecting for a long time. China has the largest pig population in the world. It is to be noted that the researchers made a decision to use ferrets because they experience similar symptoms to humans.

As per the blood tests, results showed antibodies created by exposure to the G4, 10.4% of the swine workers had already been infected with it. "Making the seed stock is not a big deal, and we should have it ready", Webster says.

While the new virus is not an immediate problem, he added: "We should not ignore it".



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