New swine flu not an immediate threat, says Thai virologist

Though the new swine flu, G4 EA H1N1, has the potential of transmitting to humans and turning into a new pandemic, Dr Yong Poovorawan, an expert virologist at Chulalongkorn University, said it is not an immediate problem and there is no reason to panic yet.

The G4 EA H1N1 virus, a mutation of the H1N1 virus which first hit the world in 2009, was recently found in the Chinese swine industry.

After 2009, the swine flu virus combined with Eurasian avian-like influenza virus and was found to infect pigs’ guts.

This was identified as the G1 type of virus, which has now mutated to G4, the doctor said.

Since the latest version of the virus is new, people may have little or no immunity to it.

According to the BBC, scientists have written in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal that measures to control the virus and close monitoring of swine industry workers should be swiftly implemented.

Studies have also shown that the virus can grow and multiply in the cells that line human airways.

The virologist said the virus still hasn’t leapt to humans and though there are no vaccines for it yet, the research industry is monitoring it.

“The news broke when Chinese officials offered information to researchers who published their work in the PNAS journal. This a long-standing, in-depth study. I wish Thailand could also conduct studies like this, but it would require a lot of money,” Dr Yong said.

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