One of the lengthiest studies in China has recently identified a new type of Swine flu virus that has the potential to cause a pandemic similar to the novel coronavirus.

The study, which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identified a new strain of influence that is genetically similar to the virus that caused the 2009’s swine flu pandemic.

At the beginning of the study, the researchers intended to ide3ntify potentially dangerous virus strains in pigs that have not been observed or identified before. Between 2011 and 2018, the team took almost 30,000 swabs from pigs in different slaughterhouses across 10 provinces in China.

The team also took almost 1,000 swabs from pigs that were showing respiratory symptoms.

As many as 179 different strains of viruses were observed in pigs, out of which, they name the most dangerous virus that stood out among all as “G4 EA H1N1.”

“It’s the predominant genotype in circulation in pigs detected across at least 10 provinces,” the researchers wrote in the study, indicating that the virus is becoming predominant in pig population since 2016.

The scientists report that the new strain of Swine flu is a combination of three viruses. Although it is a variation of 2009’s Swine flu, is has also found to be a combination of European and Asian birds and the virus that causes the North American flu and has genes from human, pig and bird flu viruses.

The team further said that even though the virus has not yet jumped to humans to cause an infection but it is a potential hazard and may lead to a pandemic if it does. They further added that the new flu virus in China has been found to contain genetic segments of the 2009’s Swine flu virus, it may actually adapt to cause human-to-human transmission, similar to what is happening now in the case of the novel coronavirus.

Researchers believe that now it is up to the authorities to take proactive measures and prevent another outbreak that could be potentially damaging and prevent the devastation caused due to loss of life ad income.

The team did further confirm that the new virus strain is not similar to the current human influenza or virus that causes common cold and flu. Therefore, immunity developed against the current seasonal influenza will not help provide protection against it.

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