New swine flu strain found in China

Published Jul 4, 2020


CAPE TOWN - A new strain of Swine Flu has been found in China recently with experts warning yet another possible pandemic may come from it.

The new strain of H1N1 is said to be similar to the virus that spread throughout the world in 2009, with scientists believing the virus - that has spread from pigs to humans - may mutate further for easier transmission between humans and if not monitored closely, could lead to another global pandemic.

A study conducted by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) has found this specific strain predominant in pigs since 2016 and has "the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus."

The new strain called 'G4 EA H1N1' shows similar genetics to the swine flu outbreak the world faced in 2009, however current flu vaccines will not provide immunity against the new strain.

The study had found that the virus binds to human-type receptors and said "Controlling the prevailing G4 EA H1N1 viruses in pigs and close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in swine industry, should be urgently implemented."

"Further serological surveillance among occupational exposure population showed that 10.4% (35/338) of swine workers were positive for G4 EA H1N1 virus, especially for participants 18 y to 35 y old, who had 20.5% (9/44) seropositive rates, indicating that the predominant G4 EA H1N1 virus has acquired increased human infectivity."

"Such infectivity greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses."

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