China study warns of possible new ‘pandemic virus’ from pigs
UNTV News • June 30, 2020 • 1475
A new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential “pandemic virus,” a study said, although experts said there is no imminent threat.
A team of Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a “G4” strain of H1N1 that has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” according to the paper, published by the U.S. journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Pig farm workers also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, the authors said, adding that “close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.”
The study highlights the risks of viruses crossing the species barrier into humans, especially in densely populated regions in China, where millions live in close proximity to farms, breeding facilities, slaughterhouses and wet markets.
“China is closely following the developments in regard to this matter. We will take all necessary measures to prevent the spread and outbreak of any virus,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news conference on Tuesday (June 30).
The current coronavirus sweeping the world is believed to have originated in horseshoe bats in southwest China and could have spread to humans via a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified. (Reuters)
(Production: Shubing Wang, Thomas Suen, Fang Nanlin)
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Custom (BOC) announced that its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has intercepted a total of 775.6 kilograms of meat and meat products without Sanitary & Phytosanitary clearances from January to June 2020.
In a statement released on Saturday (July 4), the BOC said the meat and meat products that they have confiscated include 268.2 kilograms of pork, 106.4 kilograms of beef, 298.2 kilograms of poultry, and 102 kilograms of other kinds of meat.
The BOC added these products arrived without permits and health clearance, and were brought in through NAIA from African Swine Fever (ASF) infected countries.
“All the items were turned over to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) for quarantine and immediate disposal to prevent the spread of the virus dangerous to local health and to the food industry,” the press release read.
It added that, with the emergence of a new strain of swine flu virus, the frontliners of the BOC-NAIA who man the passenger area and air cargo warehouses are on high alert against the possible entry of contaminated meat products.
“Customs NAIA has been consistent in protecting our local industry from any possible swine and agricultural epidemic and supports the directive of Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero to continuously monitor and safeguard the country’s borders,” the statement concluded. —/mbmf
GENEVA, Switzerland – The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced another reason why the new coronavirus should not be taken lightly by governments around the world.
In a virtual briefing on Monday (April 13), WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that compared to the swine flu that caused a global pandemic in 2009, the novel coronavirus which cause coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is deadlier than H1N1 or swine flu.
“We know that Covid-19 spreads fast, and we know that it is deadly, 10 times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic,” he said.
The WHO official notes that 18,500 people died of swine flu in 2009 but a Lancet study revealed the death toll actually reached between around 150,000 to more than 570,000.
The outbreak was declared a pandemic in June 2009 and lasted up to August 2010.
The WHO warned that while COVID-19 accelerates quickly, ‘it decelerates much slowly’ thus a vaccine would be necessary to completely stop transmission.
As of April 14, the global COVID-19 death toll logs at 118,966 from the total number of confirmed cases of 1,911,407.
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