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Flu virus with 'pandemic potential' found in China

A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.

It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.

The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak.

While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.

As it's new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.

Pandemic threat

A bad new strain of influenza is among the top disease threats that experts are watching for, even as the world attempts to bring to an end the current coronavirus pandemic.

The last pandemic flu the world encountered - the swine flu outbreak of 2009 that began in Mexico - was less deadly than initially feared, largely because many older people had some immunity to it, probably because of its similarity to other flu viruses that had circulated years before.

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That virus, called A/H1N1pdm09, is now covered by the annual flu vaccine to make sure people are protected.

The new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes.

So far, it hasn't posed a big threat, but Prof Kin-Chow Chang and colleagues who have been studying it, say it is one to keep an eye on.

The virus, which the researchers call G4 EA H1N1, can grow and multiply in the cells that line the human airways.

They found evidence of recent infection starting in people who worked in abattoirs and the swine industry in China.

Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, although they could be adapted to do so if needed.

Prof Kin-Chow Chang, who works at 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."

While this new virus is not an immediate problem, he says: "We should not ignore it".

The scientists write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that measures to control the virus in pigs and closely monitor working populations should be swiftly implemented.

Prof James Wood, Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said the work "comes as a salutary reminder" that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of pathogens, and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.



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  • Masautso

    China is putting us in trouble

  • Mulengakangwa


  • MwanduSyanyaze

    They better control it we are now tired of these pandemic viruses

  • Evans97


  • Malubeni


  • Sarahkantambo


  • Maria

    Everything is just from china

  • Chisanga


  • ztaona

    Ok... following

  • Verginia

    Wow okay this is interesting and I loved reding this. I enjoyed it.

  • Newton


  • Chilufya


  • JohnMusonda

    Interesting update

  • Lesiya


  • Chikolove


  • ClementLutangu

    Not again

  • Bwalya17


  • Bupek


  • kafumubanda

    China will combat the disease the way it did to COVID-19

  • DanielWalusimo

    Another one🤔🤔🤔

  • DavisNchindweMulenga


  • ollamia


  • Misheck


  • Mudenda380

    They should take care of it before anything else happens

  • Mwandimudenda


  • CholweNsandula

    How many pandemics are we going to have in one year

  • PejeKamima

    Terrible news

  • Mwizukanji

    So soon.

  • Joshuamelchi


  • MonicaHildaBanda

    Terrible news

  • Duduzile

    Ooh sad

  • Prudence


  • JamesTreySikela

    Very informative, it must not spread like the swine flu did

  • Isaac


  • Beatricenalu

    Very informative and educative

  • Terrencemwamba


  • Habakuk

    That’s sad

  • Della


  • Jimbwalya


  • Mubangathegreat


  • madubecynth

    We wont survive another virus. China must try to contain it.

  • Wizaso


  • Fumbani


  • Rosaria


  • Mumbe19

    China again

  • MweembeziSiakoche

    Eish neh

  • ChefPeter

    noted, thank you.

  • DorcasEzaBongwa


  • cmukale

    Could this be the second flu Luke we were warned against

  • Wezigrace

    Not again