Not Now, Ominous New Swine Flu Strains

Henrietta Brewer
July 2, 2020

"It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic", the researchers wrote.

The so-called G4 variant of an H1N1 influenza virus, now circulating among pigs, has genetic traces of several other unsafe pathogens, including the virus that caused the 2009 flu pandemic, according to a study published yesterday (June 29) in PNAS.

Li-Min Huang, director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Nationwide Taiwan College Clinic, stated that a important subsequent action would be obtaining out whether or not any of the contaminated employees at the pig farms experienced contracted the virus from human beings, as very well as whether or not any experienced unfold the virus to their households.

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 study was carried out between 2011 and 2018.

The findings come amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and just ten years after a swine flu pandemic estimated to have killed up to 284,000 people.

The team has also identified the new strain, G4, which was observed to be highly infections and can replicate in humans.

Tests also showed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to the seasonal flu does not provide protection from the G4 strain.

"Basically, this virus is certainly worth watching, but there's no evidence it is going to cause an imminent pandemic", Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, told Gizmodo.

G4 is still on the rise in China's swine population, with researchers warning it is potentially deadly to humans because it can grow and multiply in the cells that line our airways.

Influenza viruses are a persistent source of pandemics due to their ability to quickly mutate and spread between different species.

Blood tests in the study showed that more than 10 percent of people working with pigs had already been infected.

World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier noted at a press briefing in Geneva, "We will read carefully the paper to understand what is new", according to Reuters.

Health experts are keeping a close eye on a new swine flu virus found that's a lot like the one that circulated more than a decade ago.

Within the general population, only 4.4 percent were found to have gained the antibodies.

Do you think it's time we ended factory farming to protect against these viruses?

Although the virus has already passed from animals to humans, there is not yet evidence that it can be transmitted between people.

The report "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", a World Health Organization spokesperson was quoted as saying by the BBC.

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