New flu strain in pigs could potentially trigger another pandemic: Chinese scientists

ST Staff
Tuesday, 30 June 2020

According to reports, the new flu strain is similar to the H1N1 virus (swine flu) which broke out in 2009. Although, the virus has some new changes, which could prove to be fatal.

Scientists in China found a new flu strain in pigs that could potentially trigger a pandemic. The flu strains are carried by pigs and can easily infect human beings. The researchers fear, the newly found virus could further mutate, potentially resulting in a global outbreak. However, it might not be an immediate problem but it requires close monitoring as it has all the "hallmarks" of infecting several humans.

Similar to SARS-CoV-2, the flu strain found is relatively new, and the populace might have little or no immunity against the virus.

In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal, the researches highlighted the importance of containing the virus in pigs. Close monitoring is strictly required in swine industry workers and necessary measures must be implemented immediately.

According to reports, the new flu strain is similar to the H1N1 virus (swine flu) which broke out in 2009. Although, the virus has some new changes, which could prove to be fatal.

Prof Kin-Chow Chang and other scientists believe this is a virus to be worried about, however, it does not pose and immediate threat. The new flu strain is called G4 EA H1N1, it can multiply in human cells and can enter through human airways.

Recently, the researchers found infections in China in swine flu industry workers. The current flu vaccine is not protecting the patients against G4 EA H1N1 virus.

In conversation with BBC, Prof Kin-Chow at Nottingham University said, "Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses." Further, he stresses on, "We should not ignore it."

Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, Professor James Wood informs BBC that, the emergence of the new virus is a "salutary reminder" to humankind that we are in constant risk of pandemic viruses. 

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