A new strain of flu has been identified by scientists in China which has the potential to become a pandemic.
The virus, called G4 EA H1N1, is carried by pigs but can infect humans. Humans are likely to have little or no immunity. The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person and trigger a global outbreak. the swine flu outbreak of 2009 was less deadly than initially feared, largely because many older people had some immunity to it. The new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes. They found evidence of recent infection in people who worked in abattoirs and the swine industry in China from 2011 to 2018.
Prof James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said the work "comes as a salutary reminder" that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of pathogens. Tests showed that any immunity humans gain from exposure to seasonal flu does not provide protection from the G4 strain.