In the past, many experts feared that avian influenza H7N9 will cause a pandemic, comparable in scale with the “Spanish flu” in 1918. Pessimistic predictions did not materialize, and to date, this virus has been discussed too often. However, in the new study, the American scientists came to the conclusion that bird flu can really become superturismo. From this it is just two mutations, the researchers said.
In April 2013, China had recorded 453 cases of human infection of the H7N9 strain. Then from the flu died 175 people. All cases, except one, were recorded in the Eastern parts of the country. Until recently it was assumed that infection with this virus can only be people who are closely in contact with birds or pigs, but in March it became known about some cases of transmission from person to person.
A study conducted by a group of experts led by James Paulson of the SCRIPPS Institute in La JOLLA, showed that, theoretically, only two mutations would be enough to keep the virus began to spread through airborne droplets and, as a consequence, become very dangerous. Moreover, experts argue that the earlier avian flu had three mutations to become a super virus, and one of them is already “done”.
Scientists have assured that even from a purely scientific interest they have not tried to experimentally test their conclusions and did not create a potential super virus in the laboratory. Similar experiments in the USA and some other countries was banned after 2011, such studies are conducted of Yoshihiro of Kawaoka and Ron Fouche, and their successful attempts to “improve” the virus has caused a wide public resonance. Experts, however, believe that in the long term to check their findings in the lab were still correct despite the risks, the results could be an important warning and allow you to prepare for the fight against superbugs, if in the future it will create nature itself.
A new study was published in the scientific journal PLoS Pathogens.