In Brazil, scientists have discovered a new mutation of the “swine flu” virus, which can cause a pandemic as a coronavirus. This was reported in an interview with Globo newspaper by the head of the laboratory of respiratory infections and measles Fiocruz (Osvaldo Cruz research Association of the Ministry of the health of Brazil) Miralda Siqueira.
“Since 2005, 25 different variants of influenza A/H1N2 virus have been detected. But the one that we found in the city of Ibipora (Parana state in the South of the country) is different from the ones that were discovered earlier,” Siqueira was quoted as saying.
As the researcher specifies, this virus has genetic differences from other pathogens of “swine flu,” which has a high level of contagion. “I would say that it has the same potential to cause a pandemic [as a coronavirus],” the virologist believes.
The scientist notes that at the moment, we know about one case of infection, which was detected in a 22-year-old employee of one of the local meat processing enterprises. According to the newspaper, the woman suffered from the disease in a mild form. Cases of transmission of the virus between people have not yet been identified, but with further mutations of the pathogen, the probability of their occurrence may increase, Siqueira believes. Now a group of scientists is studying about 3 thousand samples of biomaterial of residents of the region, whose tests for coronavirus and other respiratory infections showed a negative result.
At the same time, as the researcher points out, a vaccine against the new “swine flu” can be created in a short time. “This, of course, will not be an ideal drug, it will not be able to form a long-term immune system for everyone, but it will help prevent [a possible] pandemic,” Siqueira believes.