China risks sparking global pandemic with new deadly bird flu strain

Thursday, August 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

CHINA is endangering millions of lives and could cause of a global pandemic by refusing to share the latest strain of deadly bird flu with British scientists, experts have warned.

By PAUL OFFORD
Express.co.uk
Thu, Aug 30, 2018

Countries are usually happy to share viral samples in the common interest of stopping the spread of dangerous viruses, under an agreement established by the World Health Organisation.

But China has so far caused outrage by refusing to do this, despite a request reportedly made more than a year ago by top British scientists.

There have been at least 1,625 cases of H7N9 in humans so far in China. About 40 per cent of those people infected have died.

The UK and United States have prioritised gathering as much intelligence as possible on the virus, which England’s deputy chief medical officer warned is a strong candidate for becoming the next global flu pandemic.

Jonathan Van-Tam said: “[H7N9] is an example of another virus which has proven its ability to transmit from birds to humans. It’s possible that it could be the cause of the next pandemic.”

The virus cannot currently be passed from one human to another, and most people infected so far came in to close contact with poultry.

However, it is said to be only a few mutations away from being able to transfer between humans.

If this was to occur then scientists fear the virus could could become as deadly as the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed up to 100 million people a century ago.

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