New virus found in China could unleash another pandemic

Grant Boone
July 1, 2020

Their investigations revealed that exposure to seasonal flu doesn't give humans immunity to the G4 virus, meaning prevention is key as the severity of illness suffered by those who caught it would depend on their ability to launch an effective immune response, something that has been problematic for patients infected with the novel coronavirus Covid-19. Some experts say that the virus does not now pose an imminent threat.

In China, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said that China was closely following developments.

A NEW flu strain with "pandemic potential" has been identified in China.

Researchers discovered the strain after taking 30,000 swabs from pigs between 2011 to 2018 from slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital. Prevalent among pigs in China, G4 is a blend of a similar strain found in European and Asian birds.

Wang, who was not involved in the study, said that ascertaining the virus' threat level would help doctors be better prepared - for example, they might be able to start screening flu patients for this specific virus.

The study said that the virus has "acquired increased human infectivity".

Fauci was asked at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing about a new strain of H1N1 that scientists have identified and of which a study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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After this period, once supplies are less constrained, HHS will no longer manage allocation. Globally, over 10.3 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded.

The study is titled, "Prevalent Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza virus with 2009 pandemic viral genes facilitating human infection".

"The likelihood that this particular variant is going to cause a pandemic is low", said Dr. Martha Nelson, who read the study.

The WHO official continued, "It also highlights that we can not let down our guard on influenza; we need to be vigilant and continue surveillance even during the COVID-19 pandemic".

It wasn't until August 2010 that the World Health Organization declared that pandemic to be over. "You're really not getting a good snapshot of what is dominant in pigs in China", she adds, stressing the need for more sampling in Chinese pigs. One - G4 has become highly adapted to infect humans and could possibly mutate and pass from human-to-human.

Chinese scientists are now pleading for authorities to "urgently implement" measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

In addition to stepping up surveillance, Sun says it makes sense to develop a vaccine against G4 for both pigs and humans. "Making the seed stock is not a big deal, and we should have it ready", Webster says.

"We should not ignore it", he said of the flu strain, even if it's not an immediate problem.

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