Even as the world struggles to contain coronavirus outbreak, a new strain of flu which has the potential to trigger another pandemic has been found in China. Unlike coronavirus that likely emerged from bats, this virus is carried by pigs and can affect humans by mutating further, Chinese scientists suggest.
The flu has the potential to become a global outbreak as it can spread from person to person, they claim. They believe the flu has all the "hallmarks" of highly affecting humans and needs immediate monitoring.
The scientists, who discussed the new flu in a write-up in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the government should start swift monitoring of pigs and swine industry workers to detect its spread.
Swine flu had hit the world in 2009, though it was not as deadly as coronavirus. The new flu has similar characteristics of the swine flu (H1N1). "Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses," Prof Kin-Chow Chang, who works at Nottingham University in the UK, told the BBC.
Meanwhile, coronavirus has ravaged the world, with over 10,413,558 cases and 5,08,250 deaths worldwide. India is among the most-affected countries in the world along with the US, Brazil and Russia. India's has crossed 5.6 lakh cases.
The virus has brought all world economies to a standstill.
The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the global economy will shrink 4.9 per cent this year, significantly worse than the 3 per cent drop it had estimated in its previous prediction in April. The IMF said that the global economic damage from recession will be worse than any other downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.