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Flu virus with 'pandemic potential' found in China

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  • Flu virus with 'pandemic potential' found in China


    By Michelle RobertsHealth editor, BBC News online

    A new strain of flu that has the potential to become 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.

    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.

    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.


    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53218704

  • #2
    Paper here:

    PNAS - Prevalent Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza virus with 2009 pandemic viral genes facilitating human infection

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's the link for the study:
      https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1921186117

      And a quote:
      So far, a total of five
      human cases of EA-like SIV infection have been reported in
      China (21–23, 32, 33). The first three cases were children under
      3 y old, but the latest two cases, reported in 2016 and 2019, were
      of a 46- and a 9-y-old, respectively. Genetic analysis indicated
      that the latter two cases were caused by G4-like EA H1N1 virus.
      Epidemiological survey found that the two patients had neighbors
      who reared pigs, suggesting that G4 EA virus could transmit
      from swine to human, and lead to severe infection and even
      death (22, 23). Thus, it is necessary to strengthen the surveillance
      effort of G4 EA viruses among swine and human populations.
      Never forget Excalibur.
      “‘i love myself.’ the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever.” ---- nayyirah waheed
      Avatar: Franz Marc, Liegender Hund im Schnee 1911 (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Dr. Anthony Fauci says new virus in China has traits of 2009 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu

        PUBLISHED TUE, JUN 30 202011:44 AM EDTUPDATED WED, JUL 1 20205:35 AM EDT

        Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

        KEY POINTS
        • White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said U.S. health officials are keeping an eye on a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu.
        • The virus, which scientists are calling “G4 EA H1N1,” has not yet been shown to infect humans but it is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing Tuesday.
        • The H1N1 swine flu emerged in Mexico in April 2009, infecting 60.8 million people in the U.S. and at least 700 million worldwide. An estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people died from the virus across the globe, according to the CDC.
        The virus, which scientists are calling “G4 EA H1N1,” has not yet been shown to infect humans but it is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing.

        “In other words, when you get a brand new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus it’s either due to mutations and/or the reassortment or exchanges of genes,” he told lawmakers. “And they’re seeing virus in swine, in pigs now, that have characteristics of the 2009 H1N1, of the original 1918, which many of our flu viruses have remnants of that in it, as well as segments from other hosts, like swine.”

        ... The new strain that is spreading in pig farms in China has been identified as having “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” scientists say.
        Fauci said Tuesday there’s always “the possibility that you might have another swine flu-type outbreak as we had in 2009.”

        https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/30/dr-a...demic-flu.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Alert but not alarmed: what to make of new H1N1 swine flu with ‘pandemic potential’ found in China

          July 1, 2020 9.57pm EDT

          Researchers have found a new strain of flu virus with “pandemic potential” in China that can jump from pigs to humans, triggering a suite of worrying headlines.

          It’s excellent this virus has been found early, and raising the alarm quickly allows virologists to swing into action developing new specific tests for this particular flu virus.

          But it’s important to understand that, as yet, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of this particular virus. And while antibody tests found swine workers in China have had it in the past, there’s no evidence yet that it’s particularly deadly.

          ... China has a wonderful influenza surveillance system across all its provinces. They keep track of bird, human and swine flus because, as the researchers note in their paper, “systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is essential for early warning and preparedness for the next potential pandemic.”

          ... Importantly, the researchers found no evidence yet of human-to-human transmission. They did find “efficient infectivity and aerosol transmission in ferrets” - meaning there’s evidence the new virus can spread by aerosol droplets from ferret to ferret (which we often use as surrogates for humans in flu studies). G4-infected ferrets became sick, lost weight and acquired lung damage, just like those infected with one of our seasonal human H1N1 flu strains.

          They also found the virus can infect human airway cells. Most humans don’t already have antibodies to the G4 viruses meaning most people’s immune systems don’t have the necessary tools to prevent disease if they get infected by a G4 virus.

          ... We don’t yet have a customised test to detect this new particular strain of flu identified in China.

          https://theconversation.com/alert-bu...etwitterbutton

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