A strain of influenza emerged lately among pigs named G4 EA H1N1 identified by scientists.
The strain is similar to 2009's swine flu. According to researchers, it needs vigilance even as the globe tackles to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, reported Daily Star.
This new type of flu results in respiratory illnesses and researchers indicate that it has the capacity to become the next prevalent pandemic upon mutation and transmission from person to person.
Scientists have detected evidence of the flu spreading to people working in abattoirs and other Chinese swine facilities, according to Mirror.
G4 EA H1N1 develops and multiplies in the human airway's cells.
The world does not need a pandemic on top of a pandemic, indicated Science Magazine.
The discovery has infectious disease researchers globally taking serious concern.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences experts stated that pigs are a "key intermediate host" or "mixing vessel" for viruses that can be transmitted from wild animals to humans.
The research team has been examining swine flu outbreaks in pig farms throughout China.
According to infectious disease expert Doctor Dena Grayson, "Researchers warn of a new flu strain in China that is similar to the 2009 H1N1 swine and has the potential to become a pandemic. It primarily infects pigs but can infect humans. It's not an if, it is a when the next pandemic virus will emerge."
The new swine flu has "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans," stated the scientists at Chinese universities and China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers sampled 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs from 2011 to 2018 in ten Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital. This allowed them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses.
While it is not an immediate problem, scientists are dubious that the flu virus could mutate further and trigger a global outbreak. Professor Kin-Chow Chang and his colleagues said it needs close monitoring to control its transmission among pigs, they indicated in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" journal.
People could have little or no immunity towards the flu virus as it is new which makes it more dangerous.
It is genetically similar to Swine Flu.
Current flu vaccines do not seem to provide immunization against the flu virus, however, they could be adapted serve the purpose.
COVID-19 fatalities on a global scale have passed the 500,000 mark, with millions of confirmed cases since it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
According to Robert Webster, an influenza investigator who recently retired from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, it is a "guessing game" as to whether the new strain will mutate to readily spread from person to person, which has not transpired yet. "We just do not know a pandemic is going to occur until the damn thing occurs."
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