New G4 virus has potential pandemic risk

New G4 virus has potential pandemic risk

Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009.

pig on a farm

Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study published Monday in the US science journal PNAS.

It possesses "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans," say the authors, scientists at Chinese universities, and China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 2011 to 2018, researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces. They then isolated 179 swine flu viruses. 

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The majority were of a new kind which has been dominant among pigs since 2016.

Breakfast with Martin Bester’s journalist and newsreader, Gerda da Sousa, reported on G4 on Tuesday, 30 June.

G4 was observed to be highly infectious, replicating in human cells and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses.

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Tests also showed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to seasonal flu does not provide protection from G4.

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