New virus in China similar to swine, Spanish flu, Fauci says

Health officials are closely monitoring a new flu strain discovered in pigs in China, Anthony Fauci, MD, told the U.S. Senate's health and education committee June 30, according to CNBC.

The flu strain, known as "G4 EA H1N1," has characteristics similar to the strains responsible for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no evidence to prove that the new flu strain can infect humans, but he noted the virus is exhibiting "reassortment capabilities," according to CNBC.

"In other words, when you get a brand new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus it's either due to mutations and/or the reassortment or exchanges of genes," Dr. Fauci said. 

The new virus is not "an immediate threat where you're seeing infections, but it’s something we need to keep our eye on, just the way we did in 2009 with the emergence of the swine flu," he said.

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