Experts Warn of Rapid Evolution of Avian Influenza Virus
The world is currently facing the biggest challenge in terms of public health due to the rapid transmission of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, another possible threat to public health is also causing alarm among experts. Physicians are now warning of the rapid evolution of avian influenza virus making the possibility of a massive outbreak increasingly likely.
What is Avian Influenza Virus?
Avian influenza (AI) or bird flu is a virus that affects birds, especially poultry. Though rare, AI can also occur in mammals and humans. Avian influenza viruses are divided into two types – low pathogenic (LPAI) and highly pathogenic (HPAI). LPAI causes a mild illness that doesn’t result in mass bird deaths. But HPAI can cause severe illness that often result in mass bird fatalities. In both types, infected birds can transmit the virus to humans.
Why is the world worried?
AI usually spreads through contact with infected birds, including saliva, mucus, and feces. However, when the virus evolves through mutations, it can jump to humans and spread rapidly. Experts stated that it’s not a matter of “if” the virus will be transmitted among humans, but a matter of “when”. In a worst-case scenario, the bird flu virus could lead to a pandemic, similar to the current coronavirus pandemic that has impacted millions of lives across the globe.
How is the virus evolving?
According to recent studies, the bird flu virus is evolving rapidly, making it difficult for the current vaccines to keep up. Mutations in the virus make it easier for it to bind to human cells. Experts warn that the virus can go through ‘reassortment’, whereby a separate species of flu virus will mix with the avian influenza virus. The process can lead to the development of a new subtype of the virus that humans haven’t been exposed to previously, causing major problems.
Preventing The Outbreak
Preventive measures should be taken immediately to prevent the bird flu virus from turning into a pandemic. Experts have recommended constant monitoring of poultry farms, especially those in Southeast Asia, imposing restrictions on the movement of birds, and regularly testing for the virus. Although there are currently antiviral drugs that can help treat some types of AI infections, more research and development are needed to create effective vaccines for humans.
In conclusion, we must take the warnings of public health experts seriously. The rapid evolution of the avian influenza virus could have serious repercussions, and it’s not something we can ignore. Prevention and preparedness are crucial in order to prevent a human pandemic that could have far-reaching consequences.
Avian influenza virus is rapidly evolving, resulting in experts warning of a possible outbreak. The virus, which can be transmitted to humans, can mutate and mix with other types of flu viruses, leading to the development of a new subtype that humans haven’t been exposed to previously. Bird flu can cause severe illness and fatalities, and preventive measures such as monitoring and testing for the virus are necessary to prevent it from turning into a pandemic. Experts recommend restrictions on the movement of birds and vaccine development for humans. #HEALTH