As if to remind us just how fast flu viruses can mutate and change, along comes H10N8. The virus is a genetic mix of several others and first appeared in humans in December 2013.
“The pandemic potential of this novel virus should not be underestimated,” the research team headed by virologist Shu Yuelong from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing says in a paper in The Lancet medical journal, published yesterday.
H10N8 is the fifth novel flu virus to appear in 17 years, but there are fears that H10N8 could be more threatening. Although so far only two people have been infected with the virus, doctors fear it will spread. Their concern is the speed at which it seems to mutate. Samples from both the deceased patient and the patient still in the hospital, are different from the strain isolated in poultry in 2012.
The virus is able to penetrate far deeper into the lungs than many flu viruses and as a result doctors expect there to be more serious illness and deaths in people who contract it when compared to seasonal flu.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!