G4 strain has already infected 10% of industry’s workers in China but no evidence yet that it can be passed from human to human.
Warning comes after researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs between 2011 and 2018. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study in the US science journal PNAS, although experts said there is no imminent threat.
Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009.
It possesses “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans”, said the authors, scientists at Chinese universities and China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the study published on Monday.
Between 2011 and 2018, researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital, allowing them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses. Read more >>