The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month said it is taking steps to prepare for the possible spread of H1N1 swine influenza viruses.

The group of viruses, labeled “G4” Eurasian avian-like H1N1 viruses, are believed to be highly adaptable for human infection.

CDC said it is taking a number of actions to monitor and prepare against this emerging public health threat, including:

  • coordinating with public health partners in China, including requesting a virus sample;
  • assessing the risk of the virus causing a pandemic using CDC’s Influenza Risk Assessment Tool;
  • evaluating whether an existing candidate vaccine virus against a closely related flu virus (called “G5”) would protect against this virus;
  • if needed, creating a new candidate vaccine virus specific to G4 viruses; and
  • studying whether existing flu antiviral drugs offer protection against this group of viruses.

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