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China flu virus: Most terrifying detail of NEW disease highlighted by expert

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The new strain of swine flu has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus”, according to the researchers in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor James Wood, Head of Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, warned current vaccines “may not protect adequately” against it.

Prof Wood said: “Pig farming is a massive industry in China and pigs can be important hosts from which novel influenza viruses may emerge.

“The authors have conducted a thorough investigation into the risks of newly emerging swine flu viruses in China and show that there is evidence that these may pose a risk to human health, in particular that they can replicate in human cells and may already be infecting some pig farmers in China.

“Current vaccines may not protect adequately against them.

“The work comes as a salutary reminder that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.”

Dr Alice Hughes, Associate Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, added that swine flus are “not uncommon” in Asia, with hygiene standards and food containing hormones and steroids likely to contribute to outbreaks.

Dr Hughes said: “Swine and avian flus are not uncommon in Asia, and we hear periodic reports of them thankfully largely limited to livestock – in China there is sensitivity on this, so there is screening.

“Hygiene standards, and feeds including hormones and steroids across Asia are likely to be contributory factors to compromised immune systems and the potential of viruses to spread.

“Pork and poultry are also very popular across Asia, so there are huge numbers of the animals in the region – in fact, current statistics show over half the world’s pig population is in China.”

Professor Kin-Chow Chang of Nottingham University told the BBC the new virus should not be ignored.

He said: “Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.”

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The new flu strain identified in China, called G4 EA H1N1, is similar to the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

The researchers detected it after looking at flu viruses found in pigs in China from 2011 to 2018.

Pig farm workers also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, the researchers said.

They added: “Close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.”

It comes as new figures show coronavirus has infected more than 10 million people around the world and more than 500,000 people have died.

Coronavirus is widely thought to have started at a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

It is believed to have made the jump from animals – possibly bats – to humans.

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Coronavirus strain revealed to be 10 TIMES MORE infectious than China spread

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Sars-Cov2, the strain of virus that causes COVID-19, has been shown to mutate and change overtime. Scientists remain uncertain as to how best tackle the virus, despite it’s similarities to SARS.

Researchers at Florida’s Scripps Research Institute has said that a mutated version of coronavirus seen in the West is more infectious as it doesn’t break as often inside the body.

This is because the”spike protein” that the virus uses to attach to airway cells has adapted since January.

The scientists say that coronavirus used to break off regularly while trying to bind to receptors in people’s airways, which it would use to gain entry to the body, but is now more resilient.

While scientists have known for months that the strain seen in Europe and the US is more potent that China’s original, it is the first time a cause has been suggested.

A genetic mutation developed through transmission and replication has caused the protein to be less likely to snap.

As it is more resilient, it become the dominant strain replicated by the virus.

Scientists say that because of this mutation, coronavirus is now approximately 10 times more infectious.

The mutated version of the virus is named G614 – a change from D614, representing the Wuhan strain discovered at the start of 2020.

In May, researchers discovered that G614 had become the dominant strain seen in patients from the UK, US, Canada and Italy.

Lead researcher on the Scripps institute’s study, Dr Hyeryun Choe, told the Washington Post the mutation seemed to have happened to ‘compensate’ for the weakness of the spike protein in the past.

The way the virus enters the body is by using its spike to latch onto a receptor – called an ACE-2 receptor – inside someone’s airways, where virus’ multiply rapidly inside once entering.

Dr Choe and her colleagues examined the differences between the spike proteins, dubbed S, on the outside of both versions of the coronavirus.

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Dr Choe and her colleagues said: “These results show SG614 is more stable than SD614, consistent with epidemiological data suggesting that viruses with SG614 transmit more efficiently.”

Elaborating to the Washington Post, Dr Choe continued: “The epidemiological study and our data together really explain why the [G variant’s] spread in Europe and the US was really fast…

“This is not just accidental.”

They added however that despite the higher infectiousness of the virus, there seemed to be no change in how effective it was, which they suggested was because the spike protein has nothing to do with virus replication after it goets inside the body.

Dr Choe’s study suggested that the process of reproduction, and using the body’s resources to achieve this, is how the coronavirus causes illness.

The study added: “An interesting question is why viruses carrying the more stable SG614 appear to be more transmissible without resulting in a major observable difference in disease severity.

“It is possible that higher levels of functional S protein observed with SG614 increase the chance of host-to-host transmission, but that other factors limit the rate and efficiency of intra-host replication.”

The paper was published online on bioRxiv without being reviewed by independent scientists.

Coronavirus has infected 10,275,392 people worldwide, and killed 504,851, as of June 30 and according to John Hopkins University.

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