Chinese researchers warn of new swine flu virus

A new variant of the swine flu virus has been discovered in China that could develop the potential for a pandemic. Researchers are concerned.
Scientists have identified a variant of the swine flu virus in China that could develop the potential for a pandemic among humans. The team led by George Gao from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing reports in the US journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” The team wrote that the variant of the H1N1 influenza virus, which circulated as swine flu in 2009, occurs mainly in pigs and can also infect humans.
The virus variant G4 EA H1N1 shows all signs as a possible trigger of a pandemic, warn the scientists. Studies in pig farms in various Chinese provinces had demonstrated that this variant has been prevalent among animals since 2016. Also, about one in ten of 338 pig farming workers examined had antibodies to the blood pathogen. The team concludes that people could be infected in principle.
The researchers are concerned that the virus could adapt better to humans and then spread more. Besides, immunity to other flu agents does not offer protection against this genotype. The scientists, therefore, intensely recommend closely monitoring its distribution in pigs and humans.
Pigs are considered important carriers of the influenza virus because they can infect both birds and humans with influenza viruses. The swine flu virus, known as H1N1, triggered fears of a global pandemic in 2009 but was quickly brought under control.