COVID-19 isn’t the only pandemic threatening the world. According to new research, a new strain of swine flu has the potential to not only infect humans, but do so on a wide scale similar to the novel coronavirus. While testifying in front of the Senate on Tuesday about the Coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci briefly touched upon the swine flu virus, which has been dubbed G4 by health experts.
When asked about it during his testimonial on Tuesday, Dr. Fauci admitted that while still in the early stages, it does in fact have pandemic potential due to the fact that it is demonstrating reassortment, and that an outbreak similar to the 2009 swine flu is possible.
We Need to Keep Our Eye On It
“It is something that is still in the stage of examination,” he said, adding that, “it isn’t an immediate threat where you’re seeing infections, but it’s something we need to keep our eye on just the way we did in 2009.”
News of the flu were first presented in a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The virus is a blend of three lineages — one similar to strains found in European and Asian birds, the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 pandemic, and a North American H1N1 that has genes from avian, human, and pig influenza viruses — a process known as “reassortment.” Currently, the virus has only been detected in pigs — not humans.
“G4 viruses have all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” the study states, suggesting that controlling the spread in pigs and closely monitoring human populations “should be urgently implemented.”
Robert Webster, an influenza investigator who recently retired from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told Science that it’s a “guessing game” as to whether this strain will mutate into a virus that can be spread from person-to-person. “We just do not know a pandemic is going to occur until the damn thing occurs.” He also noted that China has the largest pig population in the world. “Will this one do it? God knows.”
Dr. Fauci “Concerned About Several of the States”
Most of Fauci’s testimony in front of the Senate focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, telling the group that he is “quite concerned about what we are seeing evolve right now in several of the states,” in regards to the number of new cases exploding around the country. “They need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out.”
He also reiterated what he has been saying for months in regards to effective prevention measures. “We recommend masks…you should avoid crowds. And when you’re outside and do not have the capability for maintaining distance, you should wear a mask at all times.”
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