New flu virus in China has potential for pandemic health

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A swine flu virus has the potential to spread among humans, as researchers emphasize in the results of their long-term study.

The corona virus gets company. A new variant of the swine flu virus has all the necessary prerequisites for spreading among humans, as Chinese researchers point out. The virus has “all the essential features for good adaptation to humans,” write the scientists in their study, which was published on Monday in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

Distracted by corona virus

The research work ran from 2011 to 2018. During these years, the researchers analyzed 30,000 swabs from pigs in Chinese slaughterhouses and a veterinary clinic. A total of 179 swine flu viruses were identified and isolated. These were tested on ferrets because the animals showed similar characteristics to humans in flu studies. One of them was highly infectious and has the ability to reproduce in human cells. It also causes more severe symptoms and seasonal flu shots don’t protect you.

The scientist involved Kin-Chow Chang told the BBC that research on other viruses should not be neglected: “At the moment we are distracted from the corona virus – and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.”

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