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Flu virus with 'pandemic potential' found in China

Flu virus with 'pandemic potential' found in China

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 01/07/2020
The new flu strain is similar to the swine flu that spread globally in 2009 [Photo: BBC]

A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.

According to BBC News, scientists say this new strain of flu emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans.

The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak.

While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.

As it's new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.

Scientists say measures to control the virus in pigs, and the close monitoring of swine industry workers should be swiftly implemented.

This new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to the 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes.

The virus, which the researchers call G4 EA H1N1, can grow and multiply in the cells that line the human airways.

They found evidence of recent infection in people who worked in abattoirs and the swine industry in China when they looked at data from 2011 to 2018.

Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, although they could be adapted to do so if needed.

[Source: BBC]

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