Bird flu spreads seldom but fatally: Scientist 2023

Biologist Vinod Scaria stated on Wednesday that human infections with avian influenza are normally uncommon, but when they do occur, they are accompanied by a high fatality rate of around 50%.

The most recent epidemic of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus has killed a record number of birds and spread to a variety of other species, including otters, sea lions, foxes, dolphins, and seals.

Scaria told IANS that the current H5N1 pandemic is mostly driven by the viral lineage and is likely one of the greatest in recent history.

Vinod, a researcher at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, stated, “In short, mammalian spillovers of avian influenza are often infrequent and usually fatal” (IGIB).

The bird flu rarely spreads to people, but when it does, it kills

“Since the numbers are so high, the virus has a unique opportunity to change and adapt to its mammalian host.

“In addition to harming the poultry sector, the greatest concern is the possible loss of a number of species that were already on the verge of extinction,” he told IANS.

A 11-year-old Cambodian girl died after getting the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, despite the fact that human infections are still extremely uncommon. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also verified that a Chinese woman has contracted avian flu.

While the danger of human-to-human transmission is low, the global health organization warned that “additional human cases can be expected” until avian influenza viruses are circulating in poultry.

“Human infections are normally uncommon, but when they do occur, they have a high death risk of around 50 percent,” added Scaria.

“Taking proper measures when handling diseased birds would go a long way toward minimizing human infections,” he said.

According to media reports, a number of pharmaceutical companies, including Moderna, Sanofi, and GSK, are planning to produce a vaccine against bird flu in case it spreads to people.

Human-to-human avian flu transmission is uncommon yet deadly

Last week, Moderna published positive Phase 1 clinical trial findings for the influenza-fighting mRNA-1440. The vaccine is designed to protect against Influenza Virus H10N8, a form of avian flu that began emerging frequently in 2014.

GSK and CSL Seqirus are developing or testing sample human vaccines. According to media sources, Sanofi is also prepared to produce the vaccines, if necessary, with the help of current H5N1 vaccine strains in store.

From 2003 to 2023, a total of 873 human cases of influenza A (H5N1) infection and 458 fatalities have been documented in 21 countries, according to the WHO.

According to the World Health Organization, existing epidemiological and virological research indicates that contemporary avian flu viruses have not developed the capacity for sustained human transmission.

In addition, the FDA recommended routine hand-washing and basic food safety and hygiene standards. It also emphasized the significance of global surveillance to detect and monitor virological, epidemiological, and clinical changes associated with emerging or circulating influenza viruses that may affect human (or animal) health, as well as the importance of timely virus sharing for risk assessment.

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