A New Bird Flu Jumps to Humans. So Far, It’s Not a Problem

To Dr. Lucey, nobody else appeared to be taking the an infection of people with H5N8 as “of any concern.” He added, “I feel it’s of concern.”

Different scientists mentioned they weren’t as nervous.

Dr. Florian Krammer, a flu researcher on the Icahn Faculty of Medication at Mt. Sinai, mentioned he was extra involved about different avian flu viruses like H5N1 which have already proven themselves to be harmful to folks. One other avian influenza virus, H7N9, contaminated folks for the primary time in 2013. There have been greater than 1,500 confirmed circumstances and greater than 600 deaths since then. Since 2017 there have been solely three confirmed circumstances and the virus doesn’t soar simply from individual to individual.

It’s at all times potential that any virus can evolve human-to-human transmission, in addition to turn into extra harmful. However H5N8 would have each hurdles to leap. In comparison with different viral threats, Dr. Krammer mentioned, “I’m not nervous.”

Dr. Richard J. Webby, a flu specialist on the St. Jude Graduate Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and director of the W.H.O.’s Collaborating Centre for Research on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds, mentioned that all the H5 viruses are of concern as a result of a few of them have contaminated and killed folks. However, he mentioned, “All of them have the identical form of binding capability to human cells, which is restricted,” he mentioned. Flu viruses use a barely completely different approach to connect to cells in birds than to cells in people and being good at one often means not being good on the different.

Dr. Webby additionally mentioned that whereas seven infections would definitely be of concern, just one an infection has been confirmed. The checks of the opposite six concerned nasal swabs and blood antibody checks. In folks with no signs, he mentioned, nasal swabs can merely point out that they’d breathed in virus. That might not imply it had contaminated them.

Blood antibody checks even have a possible for error, he mentioned, and should not be capable of distinguish publicity to 1 flu virus from one other.

Nor did he see any scientific foundation for suggesting that H5N8 is extra possible than another chicken flu to evolve human-to-human transmission. However any virus might evolve that potential.

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