What the world doesn't need now is a pandemic on top of a pandemic.
The new strain has recently been found in pigs and has the potential to be transmitted to humans. "Will this one do it?" First, the virus - though hosted by an animal such as a pig or a bird - must evolve the ability to transfer to, and replicate inside of, a human body.
This is the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic (from January 2009 to August 2010, leading to the death of 18,000 humans) and a North American H1N1 that caused the 2009 flu pandemic in North America.
"The Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal industry (BAI) reminds the general public to report any unusual pig mortalities in your farm", DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday. "But we must not lose sight of potentially unsafe new viruses", Kin-Chow Chang, one of the authors of the research and a professor at Nottingham University, told the BBC.
According to the report, 30,000 nasal swabs were taken from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital and 179 swine flu viruses were isolated. This shows the virus can pass to humans, however, it's not yet been proven to be able to pass from person to person. But two cases of the G4 infections have been recorded so far.
Fauci was asked at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing about a new strain of H1N1 that scientists have identified and of which a study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We would be just as vulnerable to G4 as we are now to the COVID-19 virus".
It wasn't until August 2010 that the World Health Organization declared that pandemic to be over. While Nelson thinks the predominance of G4 in their analysis is an interesting finding, she says it's hard to know whether its spread is a growing problem, given the relatively small sample size.
The majority were of a new kind that has been dominant among pigs since 2016. One - G4 has become highly adapted to infect humans and could possibly mutate and pass from human-to-human. However, there is no evidence yet that it can be passed from human to human - the scientists' main worry.
The researchers expressed concern about a virus they called "G4".