Experts say a new strain of the influenza virus has been found in China that has the hallmarks of another potential pandemic.
The newly discovered virus has been spotted in swine but is reportedly capable of spreading to humans. It is believed to be highly infections and humans have no known immunity to it.
China, which served as the origin of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is already facing international scrutiny for its initial reaction to that public health crisis.
“We should not ignore it”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who also serves on the White House coronavirus task force, sounded the alarm on the latest virus in comments he made on Tuesday.
With the U.S. and much of the world struggling to address COVID-19, another pandemic could prove devastating, as Nottingham University professor Kin-Chow Chang explained.
“Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so,” he said. “But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses. We should not ignore it.”
A continuing effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 has singlehandedly ground much of the world economy to a halt with an impact likely to be felt for years to come.
It remains to be seen whether the most recently discovered virus will follow a similar trajectory, but United States officials are not taking any chances.
“Enabled a global pandemic”
As of right now, anyone who has been to China within the previous 14 days are not allowed to enter the U.S. in response to the coronavirus crisis.
On a broader scale, it seems the time has come to hold China accountable for its role in a series of viral strains and epidemics. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) presented a comprehensive plan last month to do exactly that in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Chinese government maliciously covered up and enabled a global pandemic that has caused misery for so many Americans,” he said at the time. “This is the same regime that locks up its own citizens in labour camps, steals America’s technology and jobs, and threatens the sovereignty of our allies.”
In light of the latest development, there is likely to be even more support for a comprehensive international approach to this persistent problem.