New gene of swine flu virus with pandemic potential found in China
Scientists have identified a new ‘reassorted’ influenza virus from pigs in China that have pandemic potential. “Reassortment” is a mechanism by which new strains of virus are generated which have new properties. They can cause large scale epidemics; even pandemics
The H1N1 virus, found in pigs, has shown increased ‘human infectivity’ in swine workers. The study has been published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, a US journal. The Pig populations of 10 provinces in China were extensively surveyed from 2011-18. The team collected more than 30,000 nasal swab samples from pigs. The serological exercise showed that a new gene G4 has efficient infectivity and transmissibility in the ferret models. EA H1N1 caused swine flu in humans in 2009. It went back to pig herds and created G4. Influenza outbreaks in 1957, 1968, and 2009 were reassortants. G4 has the hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus, said the study.