Scientists from China have found a strain of swine flu that was not previously known. In addition, it is potentially capable of causing a new pandemic. Researchers published their findings in the American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers note that pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus. They can be called “mixing vessels” in the process of generating new pandemic grippe viruses. Systematic monitoring of swine flu viruses is a key measure to prevent the next pandemic flu, the researchers explain.
Scientists observed the virus in pigs from 2011 to 2018 in ten Chinese provinces. During this time, they took 30 thousand nasal swabs. Based on the analysis, scientists identified 179 viruses that cause swine flu.
So was discovered a strain of influenza virus that carries the genes of the H1N1 virus. It was he who caused the “swine flu” pandemic in 2009.
Scientists identified the new H1N1 strain as the reassorted EA H1N1 virus. A reassortant virus is essentially a flu that contains genes from various sources. This is a chimera virus, which in its structure combines segments from human, pig, and bird flu viruses.
EA H1N1 virus was detected with the G4 genotype. It was he who became predominant in pig populations since 2016. G4 viruses have all the main distinguishing features for the role of the new pandemic virus.
Scientists are concerned that experimental pigs show increased seroprevalence for the G4 virus. Researchers warn that it is urgent to monitor the prevailing G4 EA H1N1 viruses in pigs and to closely monitor people, especially pig workers.
Researchers conducted a serological test, taking tests from people. It showed that 35 out of 338 farm workers (10.4%) have antibodies to this strain of the virus and they were in contact with pigs. Most often, they were detected in people aged 18 to 35 years.
Such infectivity increases the ability to adapt to a new strain of grippe virus in the human body. This raises concerns about the likely generation of pandemic viruses.