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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. CONCLUSION 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.
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July 2 2020
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By F. Chaparro From a PNAS publication
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Another Pandemic? You Gotta Be Kidding…
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