June 30, 2020 -- As the world grapples with the new coronavirus pandemic, researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu virus that can infect people and has the potential to cause a future pandemic.
The G4 virus is genetically descended from the H1N1 swine flu that caused a pandemic in 2009, CNN reported.
The Chinese scientists who discovered G4 said it shows "all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus," but added that it does not pose an immediate global health threat.
Their study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
One expert said the public shouldn't "freak out."
"Our understanding of what is a potential pandemic influenza strain is limited," Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University's public health school, posted on Twitter, CNN reported.
"Sure, this virus meets a lot of the basic criteria but it's not for sure going to cause a hypothetical 2020 flu pandemic, or even be a dominant strain in humans."