A New swine influenza Strain Has Been Identified in China_Here’s Why you should not Panic .
As if the continued coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough to stress about, scientists in China have discovered a replacement strain of swine influenza that would potentially infect humans and cause a worldwide outbreak. Writing within the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers advised swift action to regulate the virus in pigs and monitor swine industry workers for signs of illness.
The researchers also said that while the new swine influenza isn’t a pressing issue, an in depth eye should be kept on the virus, which they’ve named G4 EA H1N1.
The new swine influenza was addressed on June 30 by Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. During a Senate hearing, Dr. Fauci said the new flu strain was “not an instantaneous threat” but something US health officials are listening to. The new virus is showing “reassortment capabilities,” Dr. Fauci explained, which suggests it can mutate or exchange genes with other virus strains.
All of this news sounds alarming. But other experts also are calling for calm immediately and do not believe the new swine influenza virus should cause panic.
For starters, it is not known needless to say if the virus has jumped from pigs to humans. “It’s important that those doing influenza surveillance are tracking this virus and understanding whether it’s making any forays into humans,” communicable disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Health.
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According to Dr. Adalja, the new virus does have some worrying characteristics that time to a capability to transmit in humans. “It’s important that we rank influenza viruses in reference to pandemic risk, and this is often one that must be taken seriously by those preparing for an influenza pandemic or outbreak,” he says.
Also, this is not the primary time the planet has grappled with swine influenza . The last global flu pandemic was the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus of 2009, a swine influenza that was first detected within the US and quickly spread round the world. Over an initial 12-month period, the Centers for Disease Control and infection estimated that there have been 12,469 swine influenza deaths within the us , and between 151,700 and 575,400 deaths worldwide. (By comparison, COVID-19 has killed quite 507,000 people globally since January 2020, per data from Johns Hopkins University.)
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The 2009 swine influenza virus, called A/H1N1pdm09, was less deadly than first expected, mainly because many older people had some level of immunity to it—probably due to other H1N1 viruses that they’d been exposed to within the past. That virus is now a daily human flu virus, continues to circulate seasonally worldwide, and is roofed by the annual flu vaccine many people get as flu season begins within the fall.
Researchers say the new strain in China is analogous to the 2009 strain, but because it’s so new, people could have little or no immunity thereto . “There’s no vaccination that might protect against this new virus,” Dr. Adalja adds.
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Flu viruses are constantly changing, although they don’t usually become a pandemic—which happens when a replacement strain develops the power to spread easily between people. Dr. Adalja points out that the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic arose from pigs, and there’s no reason why subsequent pandemic virus won’t come from pigs also .
However, he also stresses that the overall public doesn’t got to worry about the new flu virus at now . “It’s only been identified in China—there are not any cases within the US,” he says.
A World Health Organization spokeswoman told the BBC that the new flu virus highlights the necessity to remain on the ball regarding influenza surveillance, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Eurasian avian-like swine flu virus are known to be circulating within the swine population in Asia and to be ready to infect humans sporadically,” she said. “Twice a year during the influenza vaccine composition meetings, all information on the viruses is reviewed and therefore the need for brand spanking new candidate vaccine viruses is discussed. we’ll carefully read the paper to know what’s new.”
To protect yourself against infection generally , including the flu, the planet Health Organization says the foremost important thing is to stay your hands clean, washing them with soap and water regularly or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In other words, exactly what you’ve been doing to guard yourself from the new coronavirus.