scientists have identified a new influenza virus in China with “potential to cause a pandemic,” he says BBC.
According to the BBC, the virus recently appeared and lives in pigs, but it can also infect humans.
Researchers are now worried that the virus would mutate so that it could be transmitted from person to person. In that case, the virus could also trigger a global epidemic.
While this is not an immediate problem, the researchers say the virus has all the “signs” that it could adapt to humans and therefore needs close monitoring.
Because the virus is new, people would have little or no immunity to it, the BBC points out.
The researchers wrote about the virus in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to them, controlling the spread of the virus on pig farms needs to start quickly. People working in the pork industry should also be quickly monitored for the virus.
The new virus is similar to the virus that caused the latest influenza pandemic, A / H1N1pdm09 – more commonly known as swine flu.
In 2009, the spread of swine flu from Mexico to the world was less deadly than originally feared, according to the BBC, mainly because the elderly had some immunity to it. Apparently, immunity came from a similar influenza virus that toured the world years earlier.
So far, the new virus has not posed any threat. Professor, Notthingham University, UK Kin-Chow Chang and his colleagues, however, say it needs to be kept an eye on.
The new virus is named G4 EA H1N1. It can grow and multiply in cells in the human airways.
Current influenza vaccines do not appear to be effective against the virus now found. However, according to the BBC, the vaccine could also be made to work against this virus if the need arises.
– Right now we have turned our attention to the coronavirus and well so. However, we cannot forget other potentially dangerous new viruses, Kin-Chow Chang says, according to the BBC.
While the new virus is not an immediate problem, he said it should not be completely ignored.
Professor interviewed by the BBC James Wood The University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine says the study reminds us that there is a constant risk of new pathogens emerging. He said farm animals, with which humans have more contact than wildlife, could serve as a source of pandemic viruses.