This New Virus Could Spark the Next Global Pandemic
A new virus descended from three previous strains is spreading among pigs and has already infected two people in China.
BEIJING — Scientists from China have found a virus with "pandemic potential" that is related to the swine flu, according to a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new virus is dubbed EA H1N1 G4.
Science Magazine reports the G4 variant virus has genes from three types of H1N1: the Eurasian Avian flu; the strain that caused the 2009 pandemic; and a North American strain that has genes from pig viruses.
Swab tests on 31,000 pigs found H1N1 spreading among farmed pigs in at least 10 provinces in China, and most of the 178 confirmed cases are of the new virus.
According to a previous study, two people in China were infected by the new swine flu, although the virus did not transmit to others. The study notes that the virus appears to attack the human respiratory system.
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