White House Covid-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the new virus found in pigs in China has similarities with the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu.
Even before the new coronavirus’ mayhem across the globe slows down, another virus that has the potential to cause another global pandemic has been found in China. US health officials are keeping watch on the strain of virus found in the Chinese pigs, which according to a study is a potential “pandemic virus”. According to a research paper published by US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the virus has similarities with the 2009 H1N1 influenza and 1918 pandemic flu. However, there is no imminent threat, say experts.
The new virus, G4 EA H1N1, has not infected any human so far but it is showing “reassortment capabilities”, said White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci said it is still “in the stage of examination. During a hearing, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that it’s not “an immediate threat”. There is no report of infection yet, “but it’s something we need to keep our eye on, just the way we did in 2009 with the emergence of the swine flu.”
Scientists who have been doing research on the pigs in China under surveillance since 2011 said the new virus has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”
In the research paper, they said we have identified a genotype 4 (G4) reassortant Eurasian avian-like (EA) H1N1 virus on the basis of influenza virus surveillance of pigs from 2011 to 2018 in China. The virus bears 2009 pandemic (pdm/09) and triple-reassortant (TR)-derived internal genes which has been found to be predominant in swines since 2016, the report added.
According to their research paper, the new virus–G4 EA H1N1–has a high infection rate, just like the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. The research paper also said that people working in the swine industry have shown higher levels of virus in their blood. It was found on the basis of their serological survey.