Tlang="en" dir="ltr">⚠️Researchers warn of a new flu strain in #China that is similar to the 2009 H1N1 swine and has the potential to become #pandemic. It primarily infects pigs, but can infect humans.
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) June 29, 2020
While saying that it isn’t an immediate problem, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has warned that “G4” has “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans”.
The scientists also indicated that if this was to happen, we would have little to no immunity against this virus, unlike the case with the swine flu pandemic.
The swine flu had turned out to be less deadly than initially feared because of this immunity, reports said. “G4” on the other hand is said to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells, and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses do.
Since the report was published, there have been a few calls to not panic, with doctors taking to social media to explain in detail what “pandemic potential” actually meant.
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) June 29, 2020
Still, the disease has raised some concerns among health experts. A professor quoted in the BBC said, “Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.”
Chinese pigs are becoming infected with a new influenza strain that has the potential to jump to humans if it isn't contained now.
It's called G4 EA H1N1.
We need leadership. We need global collaboration. https://t.co/wbdp8lkoTW
— Amy Webb (@amywebb) June 30, 2020
These fears are justified considering there is some evidence that the disease had already been transmitted to a few abattoir workers in China. The authors of the study said that it’s now important to monitor people who work with pigs in the region.
Hopefully, the fact that the virus has been identified in such an early stage means that it can be contained equally effectively. The last thing the world needs right now is another pandemic.