Are we leading towards another pandemic?
China has found a new type of swine flu which can trigger a pandemic, as per the study named G4 published on Monday by U.S. scientific journal PNAS, it descended from the H1N1 strain which caused a pandemic in 2009.
In general, as pigs are more prone to flu yet they don’t spread it to humans but since 2016 many people were found to have antibodies in their blood. Most of these people were working in swine farms.
How deadly was 2009 H1N1 Pandemic?
The first human infection with H1N1 pandemic 2009 was detected in California, a western U.S. state. It was found that H1N1 Pandemic 2009 was not similar to the prevalent H1N1 viruses at that time. Researchers found only a few people had immunity to Pandemic 2009. On the other hand, one-third of people over 60 years old had antibodies (that means they found H1N1 positive) against the virus, which was very different from the H1N1 virus circulating at that time. Hence, the vaccination for seasonal flu could not provide protection against H1N1 2009. As a monovalent H1N1 2009 vaccine was found, it could not be accessible in large quantities by the end of November. Researchers found that from April 2009 to April 2010 estimated cases were 60.8 million,274,304 were hospitalized 12,469 deaths (ranging from 8868-18,306) solely in United States while the total deaths worldwide later found were around 284,000.
The scientists at Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said,” It has all the primary hallmarks to infect humans.”
James Wood, veterinary medicine department head, Cambridge University said, ” The research from China came as a good reminder that we are under constant threat of newly emerging zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, where humans are in more contact than with wildlife, may act as source for pandemic viruses.”
What made scientists worried?
For flu studies, generally experiments are carried out on ferrets, as humans and ferrets experience similar symptoms, – essentially fever, cough, and sneezing. The results were quite shocking as ferret to ferret transmission of virus happened quite rapidly. This made medical community all over the world pay instant attention towards the upcoming hidden problem.
As yet there is no sign of human to human transmission of the same but according to the researches G4 is posing serious threat to human health which cannot be ignored here is what WHO had to say about it.
The global medical community must “be careful and continue surveillance, even during coronavirus pandemic,” WHO representative Christian Lindmeier said Tuesday in Geneva.
The researchers since 2011 to 2018 took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese states and in a veterinary hospital, where they isolated 179 swine flu viruses. Most of them were of a new kind which has been prevalent in pigs from 2016.
The blood tests of 10.4 percent swine flu workers are found infected. Moreover, general population of 4.4 percent is also exposed to the virus.