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The strain of influenza virus G4 Flu

The strain of influenza virus G4 Flu

Context: 

Scientists from China have identified a “recently emerged” strain of influenza virus G4 Flu. The virus is infecting Chinese pigs and it has also the potential of triggering a pandemic. China has the largest population of pigs in the world

G4 Flu: 

  • The swine flu strain has genes similar to those in the virus that caused a flu pandemic in 2009.
  • The identification of the virus has been done through the surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs. Scientists carried out surveillance of influenza viruses from 2011 to 2018 in ten provinces of China.
  • Scientists also found that the G4 strain has the capability of binding to human-type receptors (like, the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE2 receptors in humans).
  • The virus showed effective infectivity and aerosol transmission and it was able to copy itself in human airway epithelial cells.
  • The scientists report that G4 has descended from the H1N1 strain. The swine industry of China is the new hotspot for zoonoses.

Human to Human transmission: 

  • Direct Effect: G4 virus could efficiently infect human airway epithelial cells found in the respiratory system.
  • Cellular Damage: The researchers also assessed replicability in normal human bronchial epithelial cells and alveolar epithelial cells also found in the respiratory system.
  • The replicability: Replicability level of the G4 gene was similar to the 2009 pandemic virus at each point in time and produced virus progeny after 36-60 hours of seeding of infection.
  • Organ Failure: G4 virus caused much more damage to the lungs as compared to the 2009 pandemic virus.
  • The H1N1 strain was responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic.
  • Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus.
  • Thus, systematic surveillance of influenza viruses is a key measure for pre-warning the emergence of the next pandemic influenza.

2009 swine flu pandemic:

  • Influenza viruses that generally circulate in swine are called “swine influenza viruses” or “swine flu viruses”.
  • In 2009 when there were around 30,000 cases globally then the WHO declared the outbreak of type A H1N1 influenza virus a pandemic.
  • It was caused by a strain of the swine flu (H1N1 virus). This virus was transmitted from human to human.
  • Swine influenza viruses have different subtypes and strains like human influenza.
  • Fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches are the symptoms of swine flu.

Source: Indian Express