In China, pigs are now becoming frequently infected with a new strain of influenza that now has the potential to jump from animals to humans striking a new pandemic around the globe, reveals a study.
The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has details of a new influenza virus named G4 that can easily jump from animals to humans and can then mutate from one person to another very easily.
Scientists at Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention say the virus contains “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans” and needs close monitoring to prevent the spread and create a new pandemic worldwide.
“It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic,” the researchers said.
The G4 influenza virus is a derivative of the H1N1 strain and is mainly concerning because humans have no immunity for avian influenza virus which can lead to a much faster human-to-human transmission.
In recent experiments conducted by researchers on the G4 virus, they found out that the virus is highly infectious and can cause serious symptoms in humans. Tests also revealed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to seasonal flu does not provide protection from G4.
According to reports, the virus has already passed from animals to humans but the researchers haven’t been able to gather evidence on human-to-human transmission leading to increased worry among the researchers.
The researchers have now called for increasing surveillance of Chinese pigs for the virus and have asked the authorities to beef up urgent measures to monitor people working with pigs in China.