The COVID-19 pandemic still holds the world hostage. There is as yet no cure available for this contagion. In this scenario, researchers have now found an indication that we may be staring at another pandemic in the making. Also Read – Children can fight COVID-19 better than adults: Lancet study
According to scientists, a new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential “pandemic virus”. This is worrying because the world is already reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic that has till date claimed 502,278 victims and infected 10,117,687 others. With scientists already trying desperately to find a cure for the current global health crisis, the prospect of another pandemic is daunting. This new virus is similar to the earlier one that caused swine flu. But it has mutated to a deadlier form and can easily spread from person to person. Also Read – COVID-19 lockdown 6.0 starts from tomorrow: Here’s what you can and cannot do till July 31
WHO to closely monitor situation
The World Health organization has expressed concern at this. A spokesperson for the premier health organization said that they will “read carefully” a Chinese study on a new flu virus found in pigs. According to WHO, the findings underscored the importance of influenza surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read – FDA issues warning against 9 hand sanitizers: Hope you are not using them
“We will read carefully the paper to understand what is new,” the WHO’s Christian Lindmeier told a Geneva briefing, saying it was important to collaborate on findings and keep tabs on animal populations. ”It also highlights we cannot let our guard down on influenza and need to be vigilant and continue surveillance even in the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
A new, mutated version of the earlier swine flu
The new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to the 2009 swine flu, according to scientists. But it has undergone certain mutations and is deadlier that the earlier swine flu. Once it infects a person, it can grow and multiply in the cells that line the airways. This can cause respiratory distress and also other complications.
Scientists are calling the new virus G4 EA H1N1. It spreads from pigs to humans. They fear that it may undergo further mutations that will enable it to spread from an infected person to others. This transmission from person to person can very well lead to another global health crisis in the form of a pandemic. Experts express concern that since it is a new strain of swine flu, people will be vulnerable because they will have no immunity against it.
Not a big threat yet, but people have been infected
This is a new development and does not pose a threat yet. But researchers saw cases of recent infection in people working in abattoirs and the swine industry in China. Antibody tests revealed that 10.4 per cent of these workers were infected with the virus. They believe that another 4.4 per cent of the general population may have been exposed to the new virus. As with the COVID-19 virus, existing flu vaccines do not offer protection from this either. But researchers are hopeful that certain existing drugs may prove to be effective against the new virus if this metamorphoses into something like the current pandemic.