New Flu Virus Discovered In China With “Pandemic Potential”
If you didn’t have enought to worry about with the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists in China have just discovered a new strain of the flu that could become the next pandemic. The new strain is carried by pigs but the virus can infect humans. Researchers are worried that the strain will mutate further and cause a global outbreak by transferring from person to person easier.
Researchers say it has “all the hallmarks” of being able to evolve to infect humans and should be closely monitored. There is also the fact that it is new and therefore people will have little to no immunity. A new influenza strain is something disease experts have been expecting for a long time. In fact, it is one of the top disease predictions. This new potential pandemic comes as the world is still grappling with the current coronavirus pandemic.
That last flu pandemic was the swine flu which started in Mexico in 2009. That flu was not as terrible as initially thought. This was the case due to many elderly people were immune to the virus. It is believed that they developed immunity due to the swine flu being similar to other cases of flu that had already been encountered before. The new strain discovered in China is similar to the swine flu with some differences.
The new strain is designated G4 EA H1N1, and it has the ability to grow and multiply in the cells inside a person’s airway. Some people who work in the swine industry in China have been infected and current vaccines cannot fight this new flu. The current vaccines could be altered to fight this new strain, according to researchers.
Prof Kin-Chow Chang said, “Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.” Prof Chang works at Nottingham University in the UK. He went on to say that the virus is not an immediate threat but “We should not ignore it”.