Two Chinese Experts Who Identified The Coronavirus Reminded People Of The Danger Of H5N8 Influenza Virus

2021-05-22   |   by CusiGO

In 1884, the writer Benito P é rez gald ó s issued a warning when the cholera epidemic broke out in Spain: “obviously, the epidemic also felt its decline, just like the real race and even the common people, If history does not tell us that after one plague is over, another plague will appear, which will be a great comfort for mankind. ” Two Chinese scientists, George Fugao and Shi Weifeng, also recalled in the journal Science on Thursday that another pandemic might come after cowid, as it has been for thousands of years. Researchers found a suspected virus: h5n8 avian influenza virus.

Pathogens are well known. According to the European infectious disease control agency ECDC, it has been spreading in Europe since 2014, causing outbreaks in millions of wild and poultry. On February 20, 2021, Russia warned that the virus would attack humans for the first time. In the southern part of the country, in the Astrakhan region, seven workers were infected with the virus on a large farm with 900000 layers. None of the seven had symptoms.

The virus is also in Spain. In the past few months, the Department of agriculture has announced three outbreaks of wild birds, In November, a dying peregrine falcon appeared in NOJA (Cantabria), in January, three storks and a dead goose were found in the Girona swamp, and the remains of another goose were found in the great lagoon of Zamora. After reporting the latest incident on February 5, the Ministry sent a gratifying message: “the discovery of this case does not mean that there is a risk to public health, Because genetic studies based on whole virus sequence analysis show that this is an avian virus with no specific affinity for human

The two Chinese experts are not so optimistic. ” They warned in science that the global spread of the h5n8 avian influenza virus is a public health problem. Shi Weifeng, director of China Center for Disease Control and prevention and director of Shandong Provincial Reference Laboratory of infectious diseases. They all participated in the identification of the new coronavirus in December 2019. They believe that the avian influenza virus may cause a “catastrophic pandemic” in humans.

At least 46 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa have reported fatal outbreaks of h5n8 in birds. Chinese researchers stressed that the virus from seven Russian workers, belonging to subgroup 2.3.4.4b, has a “worrying” mutation and seems to increase its affinity for human cells. Fugao and Shi warn that the variant of the virus has resulted in the slaughter of more than 20 million poultry in South Korea and Japan. The global spread of h5n8 avian influenza virus and its potential risks to poultry, wild birds and global public health cannot be ignored.

Veterinary expert ELISA P é rez was surprised by the warning signals from two Chinese experts. Virologists at the center for animal health research (valdiolmos, Madrid community) recalled that the European Agency ECDC conducted a risk assessment on February 24 and concluded that the risk of poultry workers was “very low” and that of the general population was “very low”. Since October 2020, the EU and its surrounding areas have recorded 1700 outbreaks of h5n8 or similar viruses in birds, and about 1900 people in seven countries have participated in dangerous activities, such as slaughtering infected animals, but no human case has been found.

In fact, on March 23, the Ministry of agriculture and the Autonomous Region decided to lower the current strict biosafety standards, such as banning outdoor poultry raising. In the information sent to professional veterinarians, They defended their decision on the grounds of “reducing the risk of introducing avian influenza (Flu) into Spain after the winter migration of wild birds from northern and central European countries” and that there have been no cases since January.

Perez highlighted a “very compelling” feature of h5n8: it also kills wild birds They are a natural repository of influenza viruses, they rarely have serious symptoms, but this year there was a massacre in northern Europe, “he explained. Virologists only remember two other similar cases: H5N1 in the early 21st century and the same h5n8 subtype in Europe in 2016 and 2017. Peres pointed out the huge poultry farms In a farm like Russia, where there are nearly one million chickens in the same location, the risk of mutation is very high. If the virus enters a large farm, no one can stop it. It’s a time bomb, “he warned.

However, the two Chinese experts believe that in theory, replacing small family farms with strict biosecurity measures will help reduce the risk of the spread of the bird flu virus to humans. In Spain, rujamar announced an investment of 25 million euros in 2019 to build a large farm with 1.35 million hens in San Clemente (Cuenca). According to the official census, there are about 46 million layers on Spanish farms, and more than 817 million poultry were slaughtered for meat in 2019.

Just as the new coronavirus has its unique characteristics, there are two proteins on the surface of influenza virus, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (n), which have different subtype numbers, so they are called h5n8. Maria Montoya, a virologist at CSIC, recalls that H5 occasionally jumped from birds to people. Since the discovery of H5N1 in Hong Kong in 1997, it has caused hundreds of human cases, many of which are fatal.

Montoya stressed that it is one thing to jump from a bird to a man, and another to jump from a man to a man. ” The researchers explained that the number of H5 virus attacks on humans is quite devastating, but fortunately, human to human transmission is inefficient. When the mutation appears, it could be a new epidemic, “he warned.

Virologists stressed that the mutation ability of influenza virus is “far greater than” coronavirus Montoya recalled that his research institute CSIC had lost two of Spain’s main laboratories for influenza virus research, After virologist Juan ortin retires in 2016 and Amelia Nieto retires in 2020, “in order to respond to a potential influenza pandemic, we need to support the research team on these strategic issues,” Montoya said.

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