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Bird flu virus ‘just THREE mutations away’ from leap into deadly human pandemic
Posted By aaron On June 23, 2012 @ 2:17 pm In Science & Technology | Comments Disabled
UK Daily Mail
June 23, 2012
The world has yet to see a form of the deadly bird flu virus that could spread easily between people and cause a global outbreak – but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, scientists say.
Currently, bird flu, or H5N1 avian flu, can be transmitted from birds to birds, and birds to humans, but not from humans to humans. When it does pass from birds to humans, it is usually fatal.
After studying 15 years of data on bird flu viruses in the wild, researchers said some strains were already part way along the road to acquiring just thee more mutations needed to change into a form that could cause a devastating human pandemic.
‘The remaining… mutations could evolve in a single human host, making a virus evolving in nature a potentially serious threat,’ Derek Smith of Britain’s University of Cambridge, who led the research, told reporters.
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