New Flu virus in China Identified
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New Flu virus in China Identified

In China, scientists have identified a new strain of flu and they claim that this flu virus has the potential to become a pandemic. They say that the flu can infect humans and has emerged recently carried by pigs.

The researchers are concerned that it could trigger a global outbreak as it could mutate further and can spread easily from person to person.

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They said that it needs close monitoring as it has “all the hallmarks” of being highly adapted to infect humans. People might show no immunity or to the virus given that this is a new strain of flu.

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the scientists say that the close monitoring of swine industry workers should be immediately implemented along with the measures to control the virus in pigs.

Pandemic threat

As the world attempts to bring to an end the current coronavirus pandemic, the top disease threats that experts are watching for is a bad new strain of influenza.

The swine flu outbreak of 2009, the last pandemic flu the world encountered that began in Mexico was less deadly than initially feared, probably because of its similarity to other flu viruses that had circulated years before and largely because many older people had some immunity to it. Now, to ensure that people are protected, the annual flu vaccine covers that virus, A/H1N1pdm09.

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The new flu strain that has been identified in China has just some new changes and is largely similar to the 2009 swine flu. It has not posed a big threat so far, however, it needs to be kept an eye on, say the scientists who have been studying it, Prof Kin-Chow Chang and colleagues.

This virus can multiply and grow in the cells that line the human airways and the researchers call this virus as G4 EA H1N1.

In people who worked in the swine industry and in abattoirs in China, they found evidence of recent infection starting to occur.

To protect against this new strain, the current flu vaccines could be adapted for treatment as they do not appear to work otherwise.

Prof Kin-Chow Chang from Nottingham University in the UK said, “We must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses as we are now distracted with coronavirus.”

The head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, Prof James Wood said we are constantly at risk of a new emergence of pathogens, and this work “comes as a salutary reminder” of this fact, also emphasizing that the source for important pandemic viruses could be the farmed animals, with which humans have higher contact than with wildlife.

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New Flu virus in China Identified