New Form of Swine Flu Capable of Triggering COVID-19

Chinese researchers have uncovered a new form of swine flu capable of causing a pandemic, as per a report published in the US science journal PNAS Monday. Named G4, it is biologically derived from the H1N1 strain which caused a 2009 pandemic.

Researchers have taken 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and a veterinary hospital from 2011 to 2018, enabling them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses. The majority were of a new form that has prevailed among pigs since 2016. The researchers perform numerous experiments including on ferrets, which commonly use in flu studies as they experiencing similar symptoms to humans — primarily vomiting, coughing and sneezing.

G4 finds to highly contagious, replicating in human cells. Also, causing quite serious symptoms in ferrets compared with other viruses. Tests also revealed that any human immunity acquired from seasonal flu exposure does not provide protection against G4. 10.4 per cent of swine workers already infect. It is according to blood tests that turned up antibodies produced by virus exposure.

The tests say that as many as 4.4 per cents of the general population exposes. Therefore, the virus has already spread from animals to humans. However, there is no evidence that it transmits from human to human. It is the main concern of scientists.

The authors have called for urgent measures to monitor pig-workers.

A zoonotic infection cause by a pathogen that sprung from a non-human species to a human being.

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