Flu virus with “pandemic potential” identified in pigs in China

A new strain of influenza with the potential to become a pandemic has been identified by Chinese scientists.
calendar icon 1 July 2020
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The scientists write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that measures to control the virus in pigs, and the close monitoring of swine industry workers, should be swiftly implemented.

The virus, which has been named G4 EA H1N1, can grow and multiply in human respiratory cells. Researchers found evidence of infections in swine abattoir workers in China.

Existing flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, although researcher believe they could be adapted to do so if necessary.

Prof Kin-Chow Chang, who works at Nottingham University in the UK, told the BBC: "Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses."

While this new virus is not an immediate problem, he says: "We should not ignore it."

Read the full story on the BBC.

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