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Chinese researchers identify new flu with pandemic potential

Scientists in China have identified a new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic, that’s according to a study released on Monday (June 29).

According to the study which was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the G4 virus, is genetically similar to the H1N1 swine flu and could have a devastating impact on human life if not properly addressed.

Pigs are said to be the carriers of the G4 virus which is able to infect humans.

Though it is not an immediate concern, researchers have raised alarm bells because the strain is highly mutable.

 In the Chinese provinces of Hebei and Shandong, more than 10% of workers on pig farms tested positive for the virus in a survey conducted from 2016 to 2018.

Researchers are recommending that immediate steps are taken to control the virus which should include measures to closely monitor swine industry workers.

Currently, there is no evidence yet that G4 could spread from person to person.

In 2009, there was an outbreak of H1N1 more popularly called swine flu, the pandemic lasted for about 18 months and was initially linked to pigs with the virus.

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