Researchers in Brazil have discovered a new strain of swine flu that is being transmitted to humans and that may have quite dangerous pandemic potential.
According to researchers at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC) in Rio de Janeiro, 25 strains more infectious than the current AH1N1 were found in this nation; this has caused a pandemic alert to all health experts in the South American country.
«Since 2005, influenza variant A H1N2 has been found 25 more times. But this one we identified in a sample from Ibiporã, in Paraná, is different from all the others already discovered in the world,» said Marilda Siqueira, a virologist and IOC director for an interview with O Globo.
Specialists look for similar cases
At the level of genetics and DNA, it is different without knowing «whether there is more or less risk» in it; for the time being, specialists are looking for other similar cases to evaluate them and compare them with those that have already been studied.
«The first case of this differentiation of swine flu was found in April 2019, in a 22-year-old woman working in a slaughterhouse in the town of Ibiporã; she had already recovered from a «mild flu» caused by the virus,» Siqueira said.
«This variant of the influenza A H1N2 virus has pandemic potential, but that does not mean it will cause a pandemic,» the virologist said.
«He emphasized that the expression of pandemic potential is because influenza viruses are highly contagious and «when a new one emerges, there is no way to control it,» he said.
Strain identical to that of China
Although human-to-human transmission is a bit difficult, the same virologists confirmed that this virus has the same G4 strain that was identified in China a few weeks ago; its reach to people has already been demonstrated.
«All the evidence we have is that it is transmitted with difficulty from pig to human, and it is not transmitted from one person to another. Therefore, it is not easily transmitted. It would have to undergo mutations that would give it the ability not only to jump between species, but to be effectively transmissible in our species,» Siqueira said.
In addition, he said that «constant and intense vigilance» must be maintained, since the results of the H1N1 and SARS-CoV2 pandemics are the most terrible in history; therefore, it must be treated and controlled in a timely manner.
— Jornal O Globo (@JornalOGlobo) July 27, 2020