Terrifying NEW flu virus with ‘pandemic potential’ found in pigs in China – and it could infect humans, scientists say

A NEW strain of swine flu found in pigs in China has the potential to spread to humans and unleash another pandemic, researchers have warned.

It is feared the bug could mutate and spread easily from pig to people and then amongst the human population, triggering a global outbreak like Covid-19. 

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Pigs on a Chinese farm are sprayed amid fears of swine flu (file pic)


Pigs on a Chinese farm are sprayed amid fears of swine flu (file pic)Credit: AFP – Getty

Experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences say pigs are a “key intermediate host” or “mixing vessel” for viruses which could spread from wild animals into humans.

They are concerned about the latest strain, G4 EA H1N1, because it has “all the hallmarks” of being highly adapted to infect humans.

The researchers said there was some evidence suggesting it could already have infected people who worked in abattoirs and the swine industry in China.

The scientists concluded: “All of this evidence indicates that G4 EA H1N1 virus is a growing problem in pig farms, and the widespread circulation of G4 viruses in pigs inevitably increases their exposure to humans.”

We must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses

Prof Kin-Chow Chang

It’s believed 1918 Spanish flu’s H1N1 virus, which caused tens of millions of deaths, was transmitted from pigs to humans in America and then spread to a nearby army camp. 

Troops from here then shipped out to France to fight in World War One, where the disease spread throughout the continent and then the world.

The last pandemic flu the world encountered was the swine flu outbreak of 2009 that began in Mexico.

South Korea Porcine Flu - Apr 2009


South Korea Porcine Flu – Apr 2009Credit: Rex Features

But the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak was less deadly than initially feared, largely because many older people had some immunity.

This is probably because of its similarity to other flu viruses that had circulated years before.

Yet is feared people might not have the same immunity to G4 EA H1N1

The bug can grow and multiply in the cells that line the human airways.

Prof Kin-Chow Chang, from Nottingham University in the UK, told the BBC: “Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so.

“But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.”

EFSA’s new practical guide on what African swine fever is and how to protect domestic pigs from infection

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11986478/new-flu-virus-pandemic-potential-pigs-china-infect-humans/