New virus found : Scientists warn of another pandemic potential
The G4 flu virus is capable of causing a pandemic. warn the scientists reporting on the new strain that’s descended from the Swine-flu pandemic causing H1N1 strain of 2009.
While the world – as we knew it earlier – lies torn asunder due to the raging Coronavirus pandemic that began in China due to contact with bats, mankind is faced with a threat of another possible pandemic. And this one too has origins in China, on a pig farm, to be specific.
An alarming, new study says Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of virus in pigs that can infect humans and is capable of causing a pandemic. The study was published Monday in the US science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PANS). The disease, which researchers say is being caused by a virus called the G4 virus, is genetically descended from the H1N1 swine flu. Simply put, this swine flu strain has genes similar to those in the virus that caused the 2009 flu pandemic.
Should the rest of the world be alarmed already? Here is all you need to know about the G4 virus that has become predominant among pigs since 2016.
How was the discovery made?
Scientists working on a study of influenza viruses among pigs from 2011 to 2018 in ten provinces of China, took more than 29,000 nasal swabs from slaughtered pigs. They also collected lung tissues from farmed pigs that exhibited signs of any respiratory disease.
Through this surveillance, researchers isolated 179 swine flu viruses from the samples, the majority of which belonged to the newly identified G4 strain.
Why should mankind be worried?
Whenever scientists study viruses specific to animals that mankind comes into contact with, they check if the particular viruses are capable of a jump from animal hosts to human hosts. In short, do the viruses have the receptors to latch on to the human tissues and proliferate. Scientists say that the G4 strain has the capability of binding to human-type receptors much like the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE2 receptors in humans. This binding capacity enabled the COVID=19 virus to copy itself in human airway epithelial cells, multiply, infect other human hosts. The G4 has already shown that it is able to infect ferrets and G4 aerosol transmission in ferrets is already a reality.