Context: A new study  published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S., shows G4 EA H1N1 virus has the potential of becoming the next pandemic.

More on News:

  • The virus which is transmitted from pigs to swine workers started infecting people in China at a faster rate in a few days.
  •  This strain of influenza virus was not new and had been under surveillance since 2011.

Findings of Study:

  • The study believes the virus efficiently replicates in human airway paths and has infected a few people so far.
  • They also found antibodies for virus in the blood of pig farm workers while none of them were sick which shows low degree of potency.
  • Pigs are the intermediate hosts for generation of this virus.

Way Ahead:

  • Systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is a key measure for appropriately ascertaining the breakout of the next pandemic.
  • Controlling the prevailing G4 EA H1N1 viruses in pigs and close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.
  • Countries need to strengthen their public health warning systems as early warning has been successful in predicting dengue and ebola outbreaks in the past.
  • Detailed Study of pathogens is required which will give valuable information on transmission, and behaviour of the organism, giving humans early lessons in its prevention and treatment. 
  • WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) is at the front of such initiatives to make scientific predictions based on certain models. 

Swine Flu:

  • It is a human respiratory infection caused by an influenza strain that started in pigs.
  • It was first recognised in the 1919 pandemic and still circulates as a seasonal flu virus.
  • It was caused by the H1N1 virus strain, which started in pigs and fever, cough, sore throat, chills etc.. are some of its symptoms.
  • Its treatment includes rest, pain relievers and fluids. In some cases antiviral medication and IV fluids may be required.


Image Source: The Hindu