100 times worse than COVID’: Experts raise Alarm over potential bird flu Pandemic

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Experts have raised alarm over the potential threat of a bird flu pandemic, warning that it could be ‘100 times worse than Covid’ and potentially lead to fatalities in up to half of those infected.

The concerns were raised during a recent briefing where researchers discussed on the H5N1 strain of bird flu. They expressed apprehension that the virus may be approaching a critical threshold that could spark a global pandemic, according to a report by UK-based tabloid Daily Mail.

During the briefing, Dr. Suresh Kuchipudi, a prominent bird flu researcher in Pittsburgh, warned that H5N1 has the potential to cause a pandemic, given its ability to infect a range of mammalian hosts, including humans, stating, “we are getting dangerously close to this virus potentially causing a pandemic.

We are not really talking about a virus that is yet to make a jump, we are talking about a virus that is globally present, already infecting a range of mammals and is circulating… It is really high time that we are prepared,” he added.
John Fulton, a pharmaceutical industry consultant and founder of Canada-based pharmaceutical company BioNiagara, echoed these concerns, emphasising the severity of a potential H5N1 pandemic and suggesting it could be far deadlier than Covid-19.
“This appears to be 100 times worse than Covid, or it could be if it mutates and maintains its high case fatality rate. Once it’s mutated to infect humans, we can only hope that the [fatality rate] drops,” Fulton stated.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 52 out of every 100 people diagnosed with H5N1 bird flu have died since 2003, with a total of 462 deaths out of 887 cases. In contrast, the current fatality rate for Covid is less than 0.1 percent. However, at the start of the pandemic, it was around 20 percent.

First Case of Human Infection From Mammal
The latest development comes after a poultry facility in Michigan and an egg producer in Texas in the US reported outbreaks of avian flu this week. Additionally, reports have surfaced of infected dairy cows and the first documented case of a human contracting bird flu from a mammal.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed an H5N1 infection in a dairy farm worker in Texas, prompting the White House to initiate ‘close monitoring’.

This marks the first instance of a person contracting bird flu from dairy cattle, contrasting with a previous case in Colorado in 2022, where an individual tested positive for bird flu after direct exposure to poultry and subsequent bird culling.(CNI) Current News of India

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