This new Swine flu discovered by Chinese researchers has a ‘pandemic potential’
You all know how Coronavirus has led the countries and humans all over the globe difficult to live and work. Countries have forced nationwide lockdown, daily workers have lost their jobs, moreover, money people are also starving for a living. The situation has also hit a recession in countries and made everyone helpless. Some countries have successfully tackled the pandemic while some are struggling. While all the countries are working hard for developing a vaccine to end up the matter, here Chinese researchers have discovered another swine flu that has the same potential of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
According to CNN, Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that can infect humans and has the potential to cause a future pandemic, according to a study released on Monday, though scientists have cautioned that the virus does not pose an immediate global health threat.
Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. It possesses “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans”, said the authors, scientists at Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 2011 and 2018, researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital, allowing them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses.
The researchers then carried out various experiments – including on ferrets, which are widely used in flu studies because they experience similar symptoms to humans. G4 was observed to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses do. Tests also showed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to seasonal flu does not provide protection from G4. More than one in 10 swine workers had already been infected, according to antibody blood tests which showed exposure to the virus.
Further tests showed that G4 can infect humans by binding to our cells and receptors, and it can replicate quickly inside our airway cells. And though G4 holds H1N1 genes, people who have received seasonal flu vaccines won’t have any immunity.
“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 authors called for urgent measures to monitor people working with pigs.
James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University, 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.”
However, researchers warn in the paper that the virus was on the rise among pig populations, and could “pose a serious threat to human health” if not carefully monitored.
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