Flu virus with ‘pandemic potential’ found in China- BBC

Currently, the whole world is suffering from the recent pandemic of COVID-19. All the research institutes and pharmaceutical companies are doing their best to conduct research for vaccine development and carry out trials. Amidst this pandemic, an article published in BBC has mentioned a new strain of flu in China, identified by chinese researchers, which has the potential to become a pandemic 

In the same article, it is stated that this new strain of influenza is among the top disease threats that experts are observing. The last pandemic flu outbreak the world had encountered was the swine flu outbreak of 2009. The swine flu outbreak was less deadly than initially feared because many old people had some immunity to it due to its similarities with other flu viruses that had circulated in past years.  

Some highlights as taken from the article of BBC:

  • The new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes.
  • Researchers call this new virus as G4 EA H1N1, and this can grow and multiply in cells that line the human airways. 
  • Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, but they could be adapted to do so if needed.
  • The new virus is not an immediate problem but we should not ignore it ; Prof. Kin-Chow, who works at Nottingham University in the UK.

Statements by people in related field regarding the virus

  • Prof James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, has said, in the work “comes as a salutary reminder”, that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of pathogens in farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife and may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.
  • A World Health Organization spokeswoman has said,”Eurasian avian-like swine influenza viruses are known to be circulating in the swine population in Asia and are able to infect humans sporadically. All information on the viruses is reviewed and the need for new candidate vaccine viruses is discussed, twice a year during the influenza vaccine composition meetings . We will carefully read the paper to understand what is new.