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Chinese researchers warn of new virus in pigs with human pandemic risk

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”, a study said, 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 U.S. journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Pig farm workers also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, the authors said, adding that “close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.”

The study highlights the risks of viruses crossing the species barrier into humans, especially in densely populated regions in China, where millions live in close proximity to farms, breeding facilities, slaughterhouses and wet markets.

The coronavirus that caused the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is believed to have originated in horseshoe bats in southwest China, and could have spread to humans via a seafood market in Wuhan, where the virus was first identified.

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Meeta Ramnani
Meeta Ramnani
Meeta develops credible content about various markets based on deep research, opinions from experts and inputs from industry leaders. As the managing editor at Smart Industry News, she assures that every piece of news and article adds to the knowledge of decision makers. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries experience from mainstream print media including The Times Group and Sakal Media Group.
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