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New swine flu strain with pandemic potential found circulating in Chinese pigs English.Lokmat.com

New swine flu strain with pandemic potential found circulating in Chinese pigs

A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.
It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.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.
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 Chinese research team have been studying outbreaks of swine flu in pig farms across the country and say the latest strain can pass to humans.
Only two people are confirmed to have caught the virus, dubbed G4 EA H1N1, since the first outbreak in 2016, but researchers say it is 'highly adapted' to infect humans.
Researchers called for monitoring of farms and people working on or near them as further transmission could cause the virus to 'adapt and become a pandemic'.
The two cases, reported in 2016 and 2019 and confirmed to be of a G4-like EA H1N1 virus were of a 46-year-old and a 9-year-old, authors say.
Researchers didn't go into details over the symptoms as the virus hasn't spread widely in humans, but in tests of the virus in ferrets they found symptoms such as fever, sneezing, wheezing, and coughing were all common.
George Gao, Jinhua Liu, and colleagues isolated 179 viruses from pigs across 10 provinces in China from 2011 to 2018 to study the risks they pose to humans. They found that since 2016 the majority of viruses found in farmed pigs exhibited features you'd expect if it could jump to humans and trigger a pandemic.

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