Coronavirus is in full swing, but could a new pandemic be looming?

A black pig for field

Di new flu strain dey similar to di swine flu wey spread globally for 2009

But he warned people must not lose sight of potentially risky new viruses when distracted with the coronavirus.

As part of a project to identify potential pandemic causing viruses, Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018.

The last pandemic that humanity faced before the current wave of coronavirus was swine flu in 2009, which started in Mexico.

Fauci noted that that the virus, which has been dubbed "G-4", is "still in the stage of examination". After the H1N1 swine flu caused a global pandemic in 2009, researchers have been monitoring pig populations across China.

More than one in 10 workers who handled swine had already been infected with G4, according to antibody blood tests conducted by the study authors.

Scientists monitor the genetic drift and evolution of myriad influenza viruses in an effort to create an effective flu shot each year, but they have also been monitoring variations of H1N1 in animal populations due to the risk that a more virulent form of this influenza virus could evolve.

Chinese scientists are now pleading for authorities to "urgently implement" measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Fauci, the United States government's top infectious-disease expert, said that the new influenza virus, known as G4 EA H1N1, has the potential to become a pandemic. The only good news thus far - it has yet to show that it can jump from human-to-human.

Researchers from China have concluded that the virus has already infected an estimated 10.4 percent of pig farmworkers in the country.

Writing in the American journal, PNAS, researchers said the strain possesses "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans".

"We have got to get that message out that we are all in this together", he said. Such adaptations could lead to the ability for human-to-human transfer of the virus either through direct contact or airborne transmission.

An official with the World Health Organization (WHO), Christian Lindmeier, said Tuesday that WHO officials will read the Chinese study carefully.

"What the paper does do is something important for the epidemiological community: it points to a virus that we need to be keeping a careful eye on", the scientist tweeted about the new research. The A/H1N1pdm09 wasn't as deadly as believed, and it is now covered by the annual flu vaccine to make sure people are protected.

It added that a meeting with Philippine Inter-Agency Committee on Zoonoses will be held this week to come up with a framework in managing emerging diseases that affect animals and humans.

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