Washington: According to a study published Monday in the US science journal PNAS, researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that has a potential to become a pandemic.
The new flu strain is similar to the 2009 swine flue but with certain changes. Called as G4 EA H1N1, scientists say that the available flu vaccine might not be able to provide immunity from the virus.
The new findings have triggered a fear as it comes when the world is already reeling under coronavirus pandemic.
It possesses “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans,” say the authors, scientists at Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The researchers then carried out various experiments including on ferrets, which are widely used in flu studies because they experience similar symptoms to humans — principally fever, coughing and sneezing. G4 was observed to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses,” AFP reported.
“The work comes as a salutary reminder that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses,” said James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University.