Health workers have announced that there are 5 mutations H5N1 Bird Flu needs in order to cause a global epidemic.
One of the most deadly viruses has the potential to come back. Scientists say that there are 5 mutations H5N1 Bird Flu needs in order easily spread to people all over the world. The deadly form of influenza has killed over 60 percent of the humans that it has infected since its origin was discovered in Honk Kong nearly 17 years ago. While the virus has not evolved since its discovery, Dutch researchers say that the Bird Flu can turn into an epidemic if 5 mutations occur. Erasmus University Medical Center virologist Ron Fouchier told reporters:
“This certainly does not mean that H5N1 is now more likely to cause a pandemic. But it does mean that we should not exclude the possibility that it might happen. Another mutation increases the stability of the virus. The remaining mutations enable the virus to replicate more efficiently”
In this study, scientists used ferrets and researched the number of mutations it would take for H5N1 virus to become airborne. Researchers used a strain of the virus that was known to infect humans and then altered the genetic code. Then, using a specialized cage that only enabled one infected and one healthy ferret to use the same airflow, scientists observed the ferrets until the healthy one fell victim to the disease.
While the altered virus is said to be less deadly than its natural state, virologists say the study is significant because it helps health authorities to understand if mutations in the wild pose any threat to people.
The 5 Mutations H5N1 Bird Flu Needs to Cause a Global Epidemic.