This is what Professor Steven Van Gucht, virologist, told Belga on Tuesday. Researchers in China have previously reported that they have discovered the strain of a swine flu virus that has all the characteristics to cause a new pandemic. Chinese researchers reported on it in the American scientific journal PNAS.
Van Gucht says the G4 H1N1 virus is a serious candidate because the virus has been circulating in pigs in China since 2016 and because the seasonal flu viruses already in circulation or the flu vaccines used offer little protection crossed in humans. The human population is therefore largely sensitive. In addition, this virus regularly appears to “jump” from pig to human, since 10% of pig workers already have antibodies and have therefore been infected in the past.
“This makes this virus a serious candidate,” says Steven Van Gucht. “He is not sure if he is (already) capable of going from human to human. “