WASHINGTON — As if the summer of the coronavirus pandemic was not enough, scientists in China have discovered a new strain of swine flu.
Experts believe it could have the potential to become a pandemic. This difference is we have more time and information than we did for the coronavirus.
To find out more, we turned to the experts. Georgetown University Virologist Dr. Erin Sorrell explained that researchers discovered the new swine flu after years of surveillance on the global pig population.
"It's a specific lineage of swine influenza that has all the hallmarks of pandemic influenza strain," Sorrell said.
What was alarming about this strain of swine flu is that it made the leap beyond the pig population.
"It was able to transmit to some of the swine workers. That meant both individuals that work with swine in the production facility and the slaughterhouses," she explained.
OK, but don't panic yet. Here is the good news about this swine flu.
"We have yet to see human-to-human transmission of this swine influenza virus," Sorrell said.
That does not mean the virus will not make the leap at some point and become transmissible human to human. However, unlike coronavirus, we have an understanding and time.
"We now have time do additional research on this virus, on this lineage," Sorrell explained. "We have time to look at containing in the swine population."
That time and understanding, as we have found in this pandemic, means everything.
The original Swine Flu in 2009 infected roughly 60 million Americans and around 12,000 died of the virus.