Chinese researchers detected a new strain of the flu virus with “pandemic potential,” and according to the article published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences), this virus is present in pigs and can easily spread to humans.
“Surveillance for influenza viruses in pigs is a key measure to prevent the emergence of the next pandemic influenza,” they say.
Based on the study, the virus (called G4 EA H1N1) is very new and would be quite easy to mutate. Because it’s a recent virus, people have little immunity to it and the potential rate of infection is very high. Because of this situation, scientists call for “urgent” control of this virus “especially among workers in the pig industry.
According to the data obtained in the report’s investigation, a total of 338 serological samples were taken from workers on 15 pig farms from 2016 to 2018. The result showed that 10.4% of the sample had antibodies to the G4 EA H1N1 virus, and most of the participants were between 18 and 35 years old, with 20.5%.
“Pigs are considered important hosts or ‘recipients’ for the generation of this virus. Systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is essential for early warning and preparedness for the next potential pandemic,” they explained.
This study has been quickly replicated by U.S. media outlets, which seek expert opinions, but EcoHealth Alliance veterinary epidemiologist and zoonotic disease expert Melinda Rostal called for calm and explained:
“There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission at this time, so we don’t have another global epidemic on our hands.
So Rostal said there is strong evidence that if an animal “resident” virus begins to pass from person to person, the virus is not transmitted.
“We have to be aware of this risk to start taking measures to prevent infection now, while it is still in pigs,” he added in the PNAS report.
Information: 24 horas mx