New virus with pandemic potential found in China

Chinese scientists have warned that pigs could cause another pandemic if not taken seriously, as strain of swine flu as potential to spread to humans.

Experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have been studying outbreaks of swine flu in pig farms across the country and according to them, the latest strain can pass to humans.

Two people are confirmed to have caught the virus, dubbed G4 EA H1N1 (which was passed from pigs), since the first outbreak in 2016.

The two cases of a G4-like EA H1N1 virus were of a 46-year-old and a 9-year-old.

The world is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and another pandemic would be a huge blow.

According to researchers, the disease is ‘highly adapted’ to infect humans, and farms needs to be closes monitored, before the virus to ‘adapt and become a pandemic’.

‘Epidemiological survey found that the two patients had neighbours who reared pigs, suggesting that G4 EA virus could transmit from swine to human, and lead to severe infection and even death.’

During tests of the virus in ferrets they found symptoms such as fever, sneezing, wheezing, and coughing were all common.

George Gao, Jinhua Liu, and colleagues isolated 179 viruses from pigs across 10 provinces in China from 2011 to 2018 to study the risks they pose to humans and found that since 2016 the majority of viruses found in farmed pigs exhibited features you’d expect from the populace during a pandemic.

According to the scientists, out of 300 samples taken from pig farmers on 15 different pig farms, only 10.4 per cent had antibodies against this strain of the virus.

This means the virus poses a particularly strong chance of pandemic spread according to the scientists.


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