Coronavirus is in full swing, but could a new pandemic be looming?

Provided by Evening Standard The virus is carried by pigs

Provided by Evening Standard The virus is carried by pigs

As if things couldn't get any worse, researchers in China have discovered a new strain of swine flu that has the potential to cause another pandemic.

However, the United Kingdom public should remain vigilant, as just because we have one global pandemic, it doesn't mean that there can't be another one, she added. "Will this one do it?" However, they say there is no evidence it is yet capable of being passed from person to person.

The study said that the virus has "acquired increased human infectivity".

The Chinese team found that a major type of swine influenza, dubbed G4, is genetically similar to the 2009 virus, and laboratory results suggested it can bind to and invade human cells as effectively as the H1N1 virus. There is no evidence that a new strain of the virus can be transmitted from animals to humans and from person to person.

"It shows that we need careful monitoring of diseases in our livestock".

Chinese researchers analyzed 30,000 swabs collected from pigs at slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces from 2011 to 2018.

"And they're seeing a virus in swine. now that have characteristics of the 2009 H1N1, of the original 1918 [influenza] - which many of our flu viruses have remnants of that in it - as well as segments from other hosts like swine", he explained.

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Thereafter, they conducted various experiments, including those on ferrets, as they show human-like symptoms, to conclude that the G4 virus is highly infectious. It documented two cases of G4 infections in humans. Their analyses identified 179 swine flu viruses, the majority of which were a descendent of H1N1 termed G4, which first started to become dominant in swine populations in 2016.

Researchers are calling for urgent action before we have another global crisis on our hands.

Chinese researchers have now discovered a new variety of swine flu with "pandemic potential".

She added that given the relatively small sample size, it's hard to know whether the spread is a growing problem.

China is now the world's major pig producer, producing double the EU's entire contribution.

It possesses "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans", wrote scientists in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The virus, however, can't be transmitted from person-to-person.

The country is still fighting African Swine Fever, a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs, which started mid-2019.

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