AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Researchers have discovered a new strain of the swine flu that could impact humans.
However, health officials are warning people not to panic while we are still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
You probably remember the swine flu - H1N1 - pandemic back in 2009.
Now, researchers from China are saying they discovered a new type of swine flu.
“G4 EA H1N1 is the actual name of the virus. It is a form of influenza or flu virus. At the moment, it’s really only been found in some pigs and some swine in China, which is not unusual,” said UMass microbiologist Dr. Erika Hamilton.
Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that can infect humans and has t…
Western Mass News spoke to Hamilton, who was able to break down the origin of this new virus.
“Three different strains mixed together in a pig and traded genetic information and created a new strain and that’s basically what happened,” Hamilton added.
Hamilton explained right now, it is too early to tell how or if this virus will effect humans, but she said China needs to keep a close eye on this potential risk.
“This is where surveillance is important trying to track how far and wide is the virus spreading and is it making people sick,” Hamilton said.
In addition to monitoring this flu strain, the flu shot for this upcoming season is currently in production - all while clinicians and scientists are working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The other problem is there aren’t that many vaccine manufacturing plants around the world and so now, you got the flu vaccine that has to be made anyway, all our other vaccines, and now, we got to make a vaccine for COVID-19 and now, on top of it do people want throw in the G4 influenza vaccine? It may not be possible and it may not be necessary,” Hamilton said.
If it is proven that G4 EA H1N1 strain can effect humans, Hamilton said we could be dealing with two viruses at once.
“And that is a concern because you have sick people from COVID and sick people from the flu at the same time and could be very overwhelming for hospitals…Even if you have a vaccine by 2021, getting it rolled out to everybody is going to be tricky and time consuming,” Hamilton explained.
However, Hamilton is still reminding people it is way too early to panic and just focus on staying healthy.
“Don’t panic about this one yet. Hopefully, China will continue with their surveillance because they don’t want it either,” Hamilton said.