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The virus is called G4. As simple as that. In China (again in China) researchers
discovered a new strain of the swine flu virus. This new strain has all the
characteristics with the ability to cause a future pandemic. This past Monday the
American science magazine PNAS published a study on this topic.
G4 genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009.
G4 has all the necessary traits showing high adaptability to infect humans, as reported
by the authors, scientists from Chinese universities and the China Center for Disease
Prevention and Control.
This research shows a very voluminous result after taking 30 thousand samples with
pig nasal swabs in slaughterhouses in 10 different Chinese provinces, covering a
period that runs from 2011 to 2018. A veterinary hospital participated in the study,
which allowed them to isolate a total of 179 swine flu viruses.
Most of these viruses were found to be of the new variety that has become dominant
in pigs since 2016.
Researchers chose to carry out various laboratory experiments using ferrets since
these quadrupeds show symptoms compatible with those of humans in which they
develop fever, cough and sneeze.
As a result of these experiments, it was observed that G4 were more infectious. G4
replicated in human cells and caused more severe symptoms in ferrets than other
strains. In addition to all this, it was demonstrated through in vitro tests that the
immunity obtained after contact with human seasonal influenza viruses does not
offer protection against G4. Terrible news!
4.4% of the general population also appeared to be infected.
FROM HUMAN TO HUMAN
This means that G4 has spread to humans. The infection is currently believed to be pig-to-human. There is no evidence that G4 is transmitted from human
to human today.
A conclusion the researchers offered explains that the recipe that potentially produces a pandemic is when influenza viruses type 'A' with a new surface
antigen 'HA' are capable of human-to-human transmission.
Naturally, it is very important, it is urgent, researchers say, to implement surveillance of populations that work in contact with pigs.
Mr. James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, said: "The study is a healthy reminder that we are
constantly at risk of zoonotic pathogens, and that farm animals with which we Humans are more in contact than wild animals, they are the source of
important pandemic viruses "
Last Tuesday during a regular press conference, a Chinese Foreign Relations spokesman offered the following comment when asked about G4: "China is
paying particular attention to its development" and will take the necessary steps to contain its spread." We sincerely hope so!
The report offered by PNAS can be read through the following link. Although the report is somewhat arid, it is most interesting. I recommend it.
Six months into one of the worst experiences that many have seen in our lives, and with our personal safety placed in the hands of pharmaceutical
organizations competing strongly for a world market in the development of a vaccine against this Novel Coronavirus, it seems that this news about G4 is
a joke of lousy taste. We are not close to the end of this pandemic and everything seems to indicate that Chinese authorities are once again at the
forefront of the matter. Hopefully after the world disaster they had with the Novel Coronavirus, G4 will not become another world disaster.
July 2 2020
By F. Chaparro
From a PNAS publication
You Gotta Be Kidding…
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