Shanghai – A new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched in case it becomes a potential “pandemic virus”, said a study, although experts said there is no imminent threat.
A team of Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a “G4” strain of H1N1 that has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” according to the paper, published by the US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy (PNAS).
Pig farm workers also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, said the authors. They added that “close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented”.
The study highlighted the risks of viruses crossing the species barriers into humans, especially in densely populated regions in China.