“There will be more pandemics” says Rasmussen, an esteemed scientist.
This sentence terrifies us because the world already going through a pandemic and we can see no end to it. The fact that there might be even more of these pandemics are definitely a scary fact but can also be escaped, according to scientists. Every microbe gets mutated over time until it becomes transmissible.
A study was made regarding this and was published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences last month.
When virus attacks an animal, it merges with the cell sequence of the animal or with any other virus present to give rise to evolved viruses. It is a hit and trial method and after several wrong sequences, one unique combination can arise that will produce a virus with evolved capabilities.
The new swine influenza virus, G4.
This new complex virus is a complex blend of three viruses, the swine influenza responsible for 2009 pandemic, avian influenza and another complex North American swine influenza that evolved from a combination of avian, pig and human viruses.
To understand how such transmission happens, they had to work in close proximity with pigs whose nasal swabs showed the presence of the G4 virus. But how did such a complex virus come to existence?
For this we need to learn how transmission works.
How does transmission work?
Viruses like novel corona virus do not necessarily have transmission qualities that will enable them to infect a human, because of the evolved immune system that humans have. But after infecting animal , they keep on mutating till it can be transmitted to humans. They get further mutated by emulsifying with human genome till the virus develops high and easy transmissible qualities. And that why after humans contracted the novel corona virus from bats; it mutated enough to make human to human transmission very easy. And that led to pandemic we are facing right now. Had the virus been detected before it mutated into the virus that we know now, we could have stopped the spread.
Similarly this virus G4, evolved inside a single cell in a pig’s body that contracted the simpler version of the disease from birds. Some of the scientists who worked on the pigs contracted the disease, showing that the same virus that could in fact a human straight from birds mutated in the pigs’ bodies to form a virus that human can contract. The next thing that would happen is the virus mutating itself inside a human cell to facilitate human to human contraction.
Although, not every virus can successfully mutate itself, no one can b sure which virus cell can win the hit and trial method. Nelson, one of the scientists said, “It’s a virus that has all the hallmarks of a virus capable of jumping from pigs to humans. But there is no evidence of human to human transmission right now. I think the key to it is that it’s something to pay attention to,” regarding G4 transmission qualities.
What makes influenza virus very susceptible to modification is the genome build up of the virus, which is RNA, i.e, it has a single strand. This is why the rectification in them is minimal. Whereas, organisms which has genome as DNA have more screening process before an error in modification takes place.
All in all, the situation regarding the G4 influenza virus has not yet reached the panic mode. But staying ignorant about it could lead to a huge disaster and another possible pandemic. Therefore the development of the condition must be under observation.
Banaras Hindu University
2nd Year, English Hons.
Varanasi, UP. Mohona is an avid reader and equality seeker. She takes a keen interest in painting and finds solace among books, coffee, nature and dogs.