Scientists in China have identified a new strain of flu carried by pigs that can infect humans and has the potential to become a pandemic.
The recently-emerged strain— researchers call it G4 EA H1N1— has “all the hallmarks” of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring, scientists wrote in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
While it is not an immediate threat, it has the potential of one day triggering a global outbreak, as it can grow and multiply in cells that line human airways, the scientists wrote. Measures to control the virus in pigs and close monitoring of swine industry workers should be swiftly implemented, they wrote.
"Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses,” Professor Kin-Chow Chang, who works at Nottingham University in the U.K., told the BBC. “We should not ignore it."