The Chinese are watching a new virus: it has all the potential to cause a pandemic


It is to believe that China has the most fertile soil in the world to regularly see the birth of a new virus. The latest, detected in pig farms, has genetic characteristics close to the virulent strain of H1N1 flu, and the Chinese researchers who discovered it are wary of it. The “G4”, as they have called it, has already infected workers working in the pig sector and it seems quite capable of triggering a new pandemic.

As prevention is better than cure, the group of scientists working in Chinese universities or in Center for Disease Prevention and Control, seems to want to play transparency – or at least in part – by revealing the conclusions of his study in an American scientific journal, PNAS. The publication has just been made at the start of this week.

The main observation hardly casts any doubt:

The alert is therefore launched but it is not today that the Chinese researchers in question are tracking the new swine flu virus. For about nine years, slaughterhouses in a dozen Chinese provinces, as well as a veterinary hospital, have served them as permanent laboratories; 30,000 samples were taken from the pigs’ nostrils during this time. And viruses of all kinds, 179 in total, were found there. But at the end of the day, it’s the “G4” that wins the battle, it has largely dominated the others for four years now.

The Chinese obviously pushed their research further. Experiments have been carried out on ferrets who are unlucky enough to be animals whose flu symptoms are most similar to those of humans. It was then observed that the new enemy was more infectious in small animals, causing more severe symptoms on them than other viral strains.

The “G4” in any case did not wait for a close analysis of its behavior to act directly against the population. Workers employed in slaughterhouses – definitely always on the front line -, and other employees working in the pig industry were gradually infected, many in the end. 10.4% of blood tests carried out on people suspected of carrying the virus were indeed positive.

The first stage of propagation has therefore been taken: the virus has passed from pigs to human beings. There is no evidence yet that it can now be passed from human to human, but it has all the potential. Chinese researchers are on the lookout because they really fear it.

This is one of the main warnings of their study:

The scientific group urgently recommends the establishment of a surveillance system for the entire population in contact with pigs in one way or another, and throughout the territory.

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