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‘Highly infectious’ swine flu found in China has pandemic potential

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Beijing, June 30: G4, a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic has been discovered by the Chinese scientists, even as the cotonavirus pandemic is yet to over.

The researchers reported on influenza virus surveillance in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and came across a genotype G4 that "resembles the 2009 H1NI pandemic".

Representational Image

According to the study published in the journal PNAS: the flu 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.

G4 was observed to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses.

AFP reported that the tests also showed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to seasonal flu does not provide protection from G4.

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    According to blood tests which showed up antibodies created by exposure to the virus, 10.4 percent of swine workers had already been infected, while 4.4 percent of the general population also appeared to have been exposed.

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    The researchers main worry is that the virus has therefore already passed from animals to humans but there is no evidence yet that it can be passed from human to human.

    "It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic," the researchers wrote.

    The scientits have called for urgent measures to monitor people working with pigs.

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