As the global community continues its fight against Covid-19, a novel coronavirus that stemmed from China, scientists in China have identified and discovered a new strand of swine flu. Worryingly, this virus has traits that could potentially cause another global pandemic.
The researchers have dubbed this new virus as the G4 virus. It is understood to have originated from the H1N1 swine flu virus which killed somewhere between 150,000 and 575,000 people globally in 2009.
However, it is important to note that just because a virus ticks of all the boxes for a global pandemic, it does not mean that it is bound to happen like an inescapable fate.
One virologist from Columbia University explained that with so little known about this new virus, there is no need for people to worry as if this G4 virus will be the next Covid-19 that will surely spread sometime in the future.
The discovery of the virus was a collective effort by various Chinese research facilities, which included that Chinese National Influenza Center. They identified this virus by conducting more than 30,000 nasal swabs on pigs over an 8-year period.
Through these extensive studies, Chinese researchers identified 179 different variations – of which only a few required further studies and keen attention. During the research period, some viruses naturally died out either suddenly or over a longer period of time.
The G4 virus stood out from all the rest because it was observed annually from 2011 to 2018, with a sharp increase in 2016 that was especially notable. Moreover, researchers found out that this virus could infect humans and can’t be stopped via seasonal influenza vaccinations.
In fact, a number of Chinese, especially those who work in barns, have already contacted the virus. However, the reason that experts do not perceive the virus as an immediate threat is because it does not seem to spread from one human to another as of now.
At the same time, the research paper did warn that the virus seems to be spreading rapidly among pigs, which will consequently jeopardize the health of those who work in close proximity with pigs. China is prone to once again being the origin as farm animals are so abundant.
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