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G4 Virus

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

G4 Virus

Context:

Researchers in China have discovered a new form of swine flu that can infect humans, and they believe it has the potential to cause a future pandemic.

This swine flu has been dubbed the G4 virus and it’s related to the H1N1 flu that caused widespread illness in 2009.

What is the G4 virus, exactly?

The G4 virus is a newly discovered strain of the H1N1 flu virus.

It’s basically a virus that’s found in pigs but has combined the swine flu virus with the H1N1 virus that circulates in humans.

  • G4 viruses bind to receptor molecules in human cells, and can replicate in the outer layer of the respiratory system.

Transmission and symptoms:

The newly identified virus can efficiently infect ferrets via aerosol transmission, causing severe clinical symptoms in them like sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and a mean maximum weight loss ranging from 7.3 to 9.8 per cent of the mammals’ body mass.

Concern:

It has the potential to become a human virus.

  • Of concern is that swine workers show elevated seroprevalence for G4 virus.
  • Moreover, low antigenic cross-reactivity of human influenza vaccine strains with G4 reassortant EA H1N1 virus indicates that preexisting population immunity does not provide protection against G4 viruses.

What is H1N1 influenza?
Swine flu (H1N1) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a type of Influenza A viruses in humans. It has been named so as people who worked near pigs (or in close contact with them) were seen getting infected by this disease. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in the year 2009 as it was spreading aggressively back then.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About H1N1 and related strains.
  2. What is G4 virus?
  3. Difference between pandemic and epidemic?
  4. WHO- Director General.
  5. Previous pandemics.

Sources: the Hindu.