Another Pandemic Potential; New Strain Of Virus In Pigs

News Desk: In the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing we need is another pandemic.

Scientists in China have warned that they have identified a new strain of flu which has the potential to become a pandemic. According to scientists, this new strain of flu has emerged recently carried out by pigs and has the potential to infect humans.

The researchers are worried that it could mutate further and can spread from person to person causing a global outbreak. The virus termed as G4 EA H1N1 is a generic mix of other viruses and the H1N1 Swine Flu which caused a flu pandemic in 2009.

The number of lab-confirmed deaths due to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic reported to WHO was 18,449. Although, the flu pandemic was estimated to have actually caused about 284,000 (range from 150,000 to 575,000) deaths. About 1.4 Billion people were infected.

Between 2011 to 2018, Chinese researchers had collected and analyzed nearly 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughter houses in various provinces of China. From these samples, they isolated nearly 179 different strains of flu virus infecting pigs.

Many of these viruses didn’t circulate for long. But the G4 EA H1N1 virus kept showing up.

Various test results showed that the virus can easily bind with the human cells and can replicate easily.

According to health experts, the G4 EA H1N1 virus strain isn’t an immediate threat.

Benjamin Neuman, a Virologist said: “Pigs are susceptible to some bird and human flu viruses, so they are an animal where different viruses can mix and potentially infect people.”

Neuman is a Ph.D., Virologist, and the Head of the Biology Department at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

Neuman also added “This flu virus is made up of pieces from bird flu, pandemic H1N1, and swine flu, and seems to grow well in human cells. That adds up to a lot of potential, but we haven’t seen this virus emerge and cause any real trouble yet.”

However, he also added that it’s tough to predict whether the virus would turn into a pandemic.

Image Source: Internet


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Written by admin

A multimedia journalist based out of Guwahati, covering public policy, healthcare, and social issues.


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