If bird flu gets a mutation that allows it to spread from person to person, a new pandemic with a mortality rate of about 50% will begin in the world. About this in a conversation with URA.RU said the head of the laboratory of cell proliferation of the Institute of Molecular Biology named after V. A. Engelhardt, Professor, Corresponding Member RASvirologist Petr Chumakov.
“Fortunately, while a person can get avian flu from a bird, but does not transmit to another person. But such a mutation is possible, when a person can transmit the infection to another person, then a very serious and very terrible pandemic will arise, because humanity has not yet encountered such a virus, as well as with a coronavirus. At first, the lethality of bird flu can be about 50%, that is, every second sick person can die,” said Petr Chumakov.
The virologist clarified that such a mutation can appear in the human body.
“The bird flu that comes out of a dying human cell begins to spread to other cells. But those viral particles that come out of human cells are a little defective. They cannot infect another person’s cells. In order for them to acquire such an opportunity, it is necessary that several mutations pass in the virus, its structure changes, and then the virus will be capable of infecting another person. This will not happen in a bird, ”said the agency’s interlocutor.
However, it is not yet possible to determine how quickly bird flu will spread between people, the professor added. “It is not yet known, because it can be either very contagious, or it can be relatively slightly contagious. It depends on which mutation takes place. It may be slightly contagious from the very beginning, but just like with covid, evolution will follow the path of increasing infectiousness and reducing pathogenicity, ”concluded a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Earlier, avian influenza A (H5N8) was detected in Russia. In February 2021, seven poultry workers were infected with it. Chapter Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova then stated that this virus can mutate and begin to be transmitted from person to person. Head of the Laboratory of Genomic Engineering, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Pavel Volchkov believes that such a mutation is a matter of time.