Sunday, 12 July, 2020

New swine flu virus found in China: Can it trigger another pandemic?

The swine fever outbreak has decimated China's pig herd and sent pork prices soaring The swine fever outbreak has decimated China's pig herd and sent pork prices soaring. AFP File
Gustavo Carr | 01 July, 2020, 01:09

Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that could be capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study published on Monday in the United States science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). They found that G4 was highly infectious, could replicate in human cells, and caused more severe symptoms in ferrets compared to other influenza viruses. But that wasn't the case of the G4 virus, which kept showing up year after year, and even increasingly after 2016.

The team of researchers working on the project has tried to identify these novel types of viruses found in pigs.

Swine industry workers are particularly vulnerable to the new G4 virus.

The new strain has recently been found in pigs and has the potential to be transmitted to humans. Current flu vaccines do not protect against it, but experts say the preparations can be modified and offer protection against G4 EA H1N1.

The researchers called for close monitoring of the new strain.

It added that a meeting with Philippine Inter-Agency Committee on Zoonoses will be held this week to come up with a framework in managing emerging diseases that affect animals and humans.

This is similar to H1N1 swine flu, which caused the 2009 pandemic.

Dr Dre & Wife Nicole Young Split After 24 Years of Marriage
They made their last public appearance as a couple at the Tom Ford fashion show with their daughter Truly in February this year. Nicole , on the other hand, was previously married to Sedale Threatt , a retired National Basketball Association (NBA) player.

While this new virus may not be a huge threat to humans yet, Chang told the BBC that "we should not ignore it". The A/H1N1pdm09 wasn't as deadly as believed, and it is now covered by the annual flu vaccine to make sure people are protected.

People do not have any existing immunity against it, they said.

Because it is a new strain of the influenza virus, which.

Tests revealed that G4 has already infected humans in China's Hebei and Shandong provinces, which have large swine populations. "The likelihood that this particular variant is going to cause a pandemic is low", said the expert who studies pig influenza viruses in the USA and their spread to humans. "And they're seeing virus in swine, in pigs now, that have characteristics of the 2009 H1N1, of the original 1918, which many of our flu viruses have remnants of that in it, as well as segments from other hosts, like swine".

World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier noted at a press briefing in Geneva, "We will read carefully the paper to understand what is new", according to Reuters.

"What the paper does do is something important for the epidemiological community: it points to a virus that we need to be keeping a careful eye on", the scientist tweeted about the new research.

"We can not let our guard down on influenza and need to be vigilant and continue surveillance even in the coronavirus pandemic", said Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization.