Does the new swine flu virus have pandemic potential?

A swine flu virus called G4 has “basic characteristics necessary to infect humans, and has the potential to cause an influenza pandemic, which should be taken seriously,” Chinese researchers said in a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For this, the Chinese center for disease control organization experts, the paper reported the G4 genotype viruses cause influenza pandemic risk assessments and analyses, the present stage G4 genotype cause a pandemic virus risk is not higher than ever, the results did not further indicates the virus have immediate public health threat.

The Eurasian avian H1N1 swine influenza virus, a subtype of influenza A virus, was first isolated from pigs in Belgium as early as 1979. It is the dominant strain circulating in pigs and there is no evidence of direct and effective human-to-human transmission.
Monitoring research conducted by the Animal department in China found that since 2009, the eA-H1N1 virus that was originally circulating in the pig population has been reassorting with the Influenza A H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic, resulting in a variety of genotypes and continuous evolution, including the G4 genotype reported in the paper.

Combined with the results of this paper, the basis of previous studies and the surveillance data of influenza in China, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the G4 genotype virus did not cause an increased risk of influenza pandemic at this stage, nor did the results further indicate that the virus posed an immediate public health threat.

To be specific, different research teams in China’s agricultural sector have been continuously monitoring swine influenza virus in pigs since 2011. Ea-h1n1 swine influenza virus is not a new subtype of influenza A virus that has emerged recently. It has been circulating in Chinese pigs for several years.
Since 2016, G4 genotype virus has gradually become the dominant virus in China’s pig population.

In vitro and animal studies have shown that the G4 genotype binds to human influenza virus receptors in the upper respiratory tract and can be transmitted by droplets between ferrets.
Since 2010, 13 cases of human infection caused by EA-H1N1 swine flu virus have been detected in China’s influenza surveillance network (with an average of more than 400,000 specimens detected annually), including 3 cases of G4 genotype virus infection.
Ea-h1n1 swine influenza viruses, including the G4 genotype, may occasionally infect humans, but are not yet capable of effective human-to-human transmission.

In addition, animal model experiments and in vitro experiments to study the transmissibility and pathogenicity of the virus have certain reference value for evaluating the potential influenza pandemic risk, but cannot be simply and directly equal to the transmissibility and pathogenicity of the virus in the population.
Influenza A virus has a wide range of hosts and is prone to gene reassortment and mutation, leading to the occurrence of influenza pandemic.
But current human technology cannot predict when, where and in what form the new influenza virus will cause a pandemic.

Experts advise that the probability of the general public being infected is extremely low.
In daily life pay attention to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene, should minimize contact with livestock, poultry, wild animals.
At the same time should actively understand the prevention of influenza related knowledge, adhere to the annual influenza vaccination.
At present, the pork and its products sold on the market in China have to go through the quarantine of origin and slaughter and quarantine before they go on the market.
The public should consciously abide by relevant regulations not to buy or carry pork and its products that have not passed quarantine inspection.
In addition, in the process of cooking raw meat, attention should also be paid to separate raw and cooked, cooked thoroughly, hand hygiene and other basic hygiene habits.