As the outbreak of coronavirus that has killed thousands and infected millions across the world continue to ravage the globe, researchers in China have now discovered a new type of swine flu that has the potential to trigger another pandemic, a study was published on Monday.
Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. Also Read – Covid-19 Pandemic ‘Is Not Even Close To Being Over’, Warns WHO Chief Tedros
It possesses”all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans,” say the authors, scientists at Chinese universities, and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses and a veterinary hospital in 10 Chinese provinces, researchers isolated 179 swine flu viruses.
After the researchers collected various blood samples and discovered that at least 10.4 percent of swine workers have developed antibodies, hence, already been infected by the new swine flu along with nearly 4.4 percent of the general population.
While new influenza has already passed from animals to humans with severe effect, scientists worry about its potential extent of passing from human to human.
“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.
“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,” said James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University.
A zoonotic infection is caused by a pathogen that has jumped from a non-human animal into a human.