In a piece of alarming news coming from China yet again, the researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that has the potential of becoming a pandemic.
As per the new study that was published in the United States science journal PNAS, a type of swine flu named G4 has surfaced in the country again. The G4 is genetically descended from the strain of H1N1 that caused a pandemic in the year 2009. As per the study by the United States, the G4 virus contains all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans. This was told by the scientists at the Chinese universities and China’s center for Disease control and prevention.
During the period between 2011 and 2018, the researchers collected over 30,000 nasal slabs from pigs from slaughterhouses across 10 provinces in China. The researchers had isolated over 179 swine flu viruses during this process. Since then, the researchers have carried out experiments including ferrets which are believed to be widely used to study flu viruses as they are similar to humans in terms of symptoms.
Humans Already Exposed
The new virus G4 is observed to be highly infectious that replicates in human cells that cause more serious symptoms in ferrets compared to other viruses. The study also showed that the immunity developed by humans through other flus will not come handy while dealing with the G4 virus. Another shocking revelation that has come out of the study is that close to 4.4 percent of the general population has been exposed to the virus. This means that the virus has already passed from animals to humans. However, there is no evidence of that and that is another main cause of concern for scientists.
“It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic.”
The head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University, James Wood said,
“The work comes as a salutary reminder that we are constantly at risk of a new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.”