China Researchers Have Discovered a New Swine Flu With “Pandemic Potential”
As we continue to endure the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to believe we’ll never have another pandemic as long as we live. Can you imagine another virus causing us to stay at home for months? Having businesses go under? Loved ones getting sick and potentially dying?
Unfortunately, researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that may be able to infect humans and, they say, has the potential to cause a future pandemic.
It turns out that pigs in China are more frequently becoming infected with a particular strain of influenza that can potentially infect humans.
The virus, coined G4, is actually descended from three different viruses, one being the H1N1 strain that caused the swine flu pandemic back in 2009. The other two are a similar strain found in European and Asian birds and a North American H1N1 that has genes from avian, human, and pig influenza viruses.
“G4 virus has shown a sharp increase since 2016, and is the predominant genotype in circulation in pigs detected across at least 10 provinces,” the China Agricultural University states.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to freak out. Researchers have also noted that the virus does not pose an immediate global health threat. The strain has to mutate to affect humans, which it has yet to do.
However, researchers still remain cautious about what would happen if this strain caused a future pandemic. “From the data presented, it appears that this is a swine influenza virus that is poised to emerge in humans,” says Edward Holmes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney who studies pathogens. “Clearly this situation needs to be monitored very closely.”
To hear more about G4’s pandemic potential, check out the video below.
Can you imagine back-to-back pandemics? Do you think there’s anything to worry about with this virus?