A new variant of swine flu, which can also spread to humans, is increasingly common in China.
The last thing we need is a pandemic from a new virus. However, scientists are increasingly detecting infections with a new variant of the flu virus in Chinese pigs, which could potentially spread to humans.
The last thing we need is a pandemic from a new virus. However, scientists are increasingly detecting infections with a new variant of the flu virus in Chinese pigs, which could potentially spread to humans. They warn in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of a pandemic of this new variant in humans if no measures are taken to control the virus in pigs. China has the largest pig population in the world. The virus has already been found in workers working in the pig industry in China, and it has also been shown in the laboratory that the virus can bind to SAα2,6Gal receptors that occur in the respiratory tract in humans. Usually, the transmission of a flu virus from pig to man dies and does not progress to another person. However, the researchers fear that the new virus could mutate so that it can spread more easily from person to person and cause a worldwide outbreak. Although that is by no means the case for the time being. So we certainly do not have to fear a second pandemic in 2020, although such a pandemic can never be predicted, as we have experienced. As part of a project to identify potentially dangerous new flu viruses, Chinese scientists from China Agricultural University (CAU) and the China Center for Disease Prevention and Control examined nearly 30,000 swine nasal swabs from slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces, as well as 1,000 swabs from pigs with respiratory complaints. The swabs, taken between 2011 and 2018, yielded 179 swine flu viruses, the majority of which were the G4 EA H1N1 variant, or ‘G4’ for short. (And no, this has nothing to do with 5G) The virus is a mixture of three pedigrees: one is equivalent to strains found in European and Asian birds, another is the H1N1 strain responsible for 2009 flu pandemic (Swine flu) and the latter is a North American H1N1 variant that has genes from avian, human and swine flu viruses. The proportion of bird flu virus is of particular concern to the scientists because humans have no immunity to it at all. A dangerous new flu variant is considered by experts to be one of the most important threats for the future. We must therefore be constantly vigilant for the emergence of new pathologies, especially from farm animals. The previous pandemic, separate from the current corona crisis, was the 2009 Mexican flu outbreak, which started in Mexico. Ultimately, this pandemic was less deadly than previously feared as many older people had already built up some immunity to the virus (perhaps because of its resemblance to other older influenza viruses), so the new virus is similar to the 2009 flu, but the current flu vaccine does not protect against it. Also, immunity to other seasonal human influenza viruses does not protect against G4 EA H1N. The flu vaccine can be adjusted, but as we all know by now, producing a new vaccine requires a lot of resources and time. “We know that flu viruses cause a pandemic about every 20 years. The G4 H1N1 virus is now adding to the list of possible future pandemic viruses. It is a serious candidate for several reasons. ” That says virologist Prof. Steven Van Gucht to Belga on Tuesday. According to van Gucht, the G4 H1N1 virus is a serious candidate, because the virus has been circulating in the pig in China since 2016 and because the already circulating seasonal flu viruses or used flu vaccines give little cross protection in humans. The human population is therefore largely sensitive. Moreover, this virus also appears to regularly ‘jump’ from pig to human, since 10 percent of pig workers already have antibodies and have therefore been infected in the past. “This makes this virus a serious candidate,” said Steven Van Gucht. “It is not certain whether it is (already) able to pass from person to person.”