A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.
They say that it is carried by pigs, but can infect humans and needs close monitoring since it is not an immediate problem. The scientists have said that because it is new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.
The bad new strain of influenza is among the top disease threats that experts are watching for even as the world attempt to bring to an end the current coronavirus. It is similar to the 2009 swine flu but with some new changes.
However, it has not posed a big threat, but Prof Kin-Chow Chang and colleagues who have been studying it, say it is one to keep all attention on. The new virus that the researchers call G4 EA H1N1 can grow and multiply in the cells lining the human airways.
The current flue in China vaccines does not appear to protect against it, although they could be adapted to do so if needed. Prof Kin-Chow Chang who works at Nottingham University in the UK told the BBC that they are now distracted with coronavirus and rightly so.
”We must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses, and we should not ignore it.”
Another Professor, James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said, “The work comes as a salutary reminder that we are constantly at risk of a new emergence of pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.”