Health experts are keeping tabs on a new strain of flu in China. The new virus is carried by pigs and exhibits traits of the 2009 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu.

In a hearing on Tuesday, renowned infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the new strain of virus called G4 EA H1N1 shows similar characteristics as the H1N1 and the 1918 flu virus, though they have yet to prove its ability to infect humans. The White House coronavirus advisor also emphasized the virus’s “reassortment capabilities,” suggesting that it has the potential to vastly increase the diversity of existing flu viruses.

 “In other words, when you get a brand new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus it’s either due to mutations and/or the reassortment or exchanges of genes,” said Dr. Fauci. “And they’re seeing virus in swine, in pigs now, that have characteristics of the 2009 H1N1, of the original 1918, which many of our flu viruses have remnants of that in it, as well as segments from other hosts, like swine,” he added.

Dr. Fauci also said that since the new strain spreading in pig farms in China has all the same traits as the horrific viruses we know, the possibility of another swine flu-type outbreak is always there.

“It is something that still is in the stage of examination,” he said. “It’s not an immediate threat where you’re seeing infections, but it’s something we need to keep our eye on, just the way we did in 2009 with the emergence of the swine flu,” he added.

The H1N1 swine flu first emerged in April 2009 in Mexico, infecting at least 700 million people worldwide. Today, it is just one of a variety of seasonal flu viruses. The 1918 flu, on the other hand, killed between 30 million and 50 million globally.

The discovery of the new strain of flu virus in China comes as the world grapples with COVID-19, another deadly disease caused by a new coronavirus. The new coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December and now has infected more than 10.4 million people across the world.  

Pigs New Strain Of Virus Found In China Pigs Has Similarities With H1N1, 1918 Flu Virus. Pixabay