Scientists warn new virus in pigs has potential pandemic risk
G4 type descended from H1N1 has ‘all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus’, Chinese scientists say.
According to the study, pig farm workers showed elevated levels of the new virus in their blood [File: Zhong Min/China Out via EPA]
A new flu virus found in pigs in China has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential “pandemic virus”, a new study has found.
A team of Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a “G4” strain of H1N1 with “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus”, according to the paper, which was published in the US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Workers on pig farms showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, the authors said, adding that “close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.
“Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus. Thus, systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is a key measure for prewarning the emergence of the next pandemic influenza,” the study said.
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