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Public Safety

New Swine Flu Concerns San Diego Scientists

A flu vaccine vial is shown in this undated photo.
San Diego County
A flu vaccine vial is shown in this undated photo.
In 2009, San Diego scientists were the first to report the strain of virus that became known as the H1N1 swine flu. Not as deadly as the coronavirus, it eventually killed some 285,000 worldwide. Now scientists are concerned by a new strain of the same virus which is spreading quickly in China

As an evolutionary biologist specializing in influenza at UC San Diego, Pascal Gagneux is concerned by a new strain of the H1N1 virus that has emerged in China.

This version of swine flu has already migrated from pigs to humans and shows the potential for spreading from human to human. It is something he believes bears close watching.

Gagneux talked with Midday Edition about this new threat and about the role viruses have played in human history. Much of humankind's trouble with viral illness stems from our insatiable urge to go everywhere, see everything, and understand it all. To do this, we necessarily disturb, transfer and interfere with viruses and bacteria.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said last week that so far, there is no indication of human-to-human transmission of this new virus.