Chinese researchers discovered a new type of swine flu in the country. They said this can infect humans and has the potential to cause a future pandemic.
According to a CNN report, the disease called G4 virus came from H1N1 swine flu that caused a pandemic in 2009.
In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), G4 shows “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”
Researchers in the study from 2011 to 2018 took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces. In addition, they were able to isolate 179 swine flu viruses.
Results show the new type of swine flu became dominant among pigs since 2016.
G4 was observed to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells, The Guardian explained. Further, tests showed that any immunity humans gain from the exposure to the seasonal flu does not guarantee protection from G4.
Nevertheless, scientists said the virus does not pose an immediate global health threat.
The virus already passed from animals to humans. However, there is still no evidence the virus can be transmitted from human to human.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the country will “take all necessary measures” to prevent the outbreak immediately.
Researchers asked the government to monitor people working with pigs. They are concerned with the rapid mutation of the virus to humans and increase the risk of human pandemic.