New Strain Of Swine Flu Virus Found In China Has Potential To Become A Pandemic

Like the swine flu virus of 2009, it originates in pigs.

While the world is still currently in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new strain of flu identified in China by scientists, "has the potential to become a pandemic," according to BBC News.

The new strain of flu virus was found in pigs.

The flu strain was found in pigs, but could possibly infect humans. Researchers are concerened that the strain could mutate further and thus spread from person to person, resulting in an outbreak.

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If you remember, the Coronavirus pandemic first originated in bats and was likely spread to a pangolin and then infected a human who ate the latter after purchasing it at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. Many of the infectious diseases and widespread outbreaks in human history have originated from animals. Ebola and possibly the SARS epidemic of the early 2000s also came from bats while HIV comes from chimpanzees, and the 1918 Spanish flu as well as 2009's swine flu (a.k.a. Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, or just H1N1 for short) comes from pigs.

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According to scientists in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus," and thus measures to control the virus in pigs as well as close surveillance of swine industry workers must be implemented.

Though the swine flu outbreak of 2009 was not as deadly as scientists first thought and does currently have a vaccine, the new swine flu strain (called G4 EA H1N1), has the potential to "grow and multiply in the cells that line the human airways." Current flu vaccines do not seem to protect against it.

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While the world continues to fight the Coronavirus pandemic, governments should also be vigilant and practice caution for potentially dangerous new viruses.

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