Researchers Find New Strain Of Flu In China With 'Pandemic Potential'

Chinese scientists discover new swine flu with pandemic potential

Chinese scientists discover new swine flu with pandemic potential

An emerging virus discovered in pigs in China has traits similar to the 2009 swine flu and 1918 Spanish flu, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told a Senate committee on June 30.

This was after 10.4% of swine workers had already been infected, despite blood tests showing antibodies created by exposure to the flu virus. The researchers wrote a research article that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The new strain has recently been found in pigs and has the potential to be transmitted to humans.

Sun Honglei, the paper's first author, says G4's inclusion of genes from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic "may promote the virus adaptation" that leads to human-to-human transmission.

Experts agree that there is no imminent threat from the new strain of swine flu, but that the situation must be monitored closely.

After further examination, the team discovered that the virus spreads through airborne particles amongst animals. In laboratory experiments, the researchers found that these G4 viruses were able to infect and replicate in human airway epithelial cells.

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While this new virus may not be a huge threat to humans yet, Chang told the BBC that "we should not ignore it".

She also shared her experience of contracting swine flu and said that it is the most hard thing she has gone through. Webster says at the very least, the seed stock to make a human vaccine-variants of a strain that grow rapidly in the eggs used to make a flu vaccine-should be produced now. Chinese university scientists and China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention said this strain has "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans". And though G4 holds H1N1 genes, people who have received seasonal flu vaccines won't have any immunity.

The study said pigs were considered important "mixing vessels" for the generation of pandemic influenza viruses and called for "systematic surveillance" of the problem.

The study also focused on the possibility of viruses crossing the species barrier into humans, particularly in densely populated regions in China, where millions live in close proximity to farms, breeding facilities, slaughterhouses and wet markets.

The WHO official continued, "It also highlights that we can not let down our guard on influenza; we need to be vigilant and continue surveillance even during the COVID-19 pandemic".

"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.

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