Experts warn of the spread of H7N9 and its fatal consequences
The time of the great danger from a plague seems to be over, at least in Central Europe. Certainly people still know the history of the plague today, which claimed well over 20 million victims in the Middle Ages. But even today there are still many dangerous pathogens that occur in different countries around the world. Experts are now investigating a new form of the so-called bird flu virus. Avian flu viruses called H7N9 could also threaten the lives of people in Europe.
A team of scientists from the University of Tokyo and other research institutes recently found that the avian influenza virus H7N9 has so far infected around 1,600 people worldwide. Around 40 percent of the people affected died as a result of the disease. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Cell Host & Microbe".
The plague wiped out almost a third of the population at that time in the Middle Ages
The time of the big epidemics is actually long gone in Central Europe. However, the risk of a spreading plague should not be underestimated. The plague had raged in Europe in the Middle Ages, killing millions of people. Almost a third of the population at that time died from this plague. Experts suspect that the plague (often referred to as black death) first occurred in Asia. In the course of time, it also came to Europe through trade routes.
H7N9 virus could also infect people in Europe
Japanese professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka is researching the bird flu virus H7N9. This has already led to around 1,600 illnesses worldwide. Many people have died as a result of the disease. This dangerous form of bird flu could also be dangerous for people in Europe. A new pandemic caused by the bird flu virus is feared by the researchers.
In the past, experts believed that H7N9 cannot be transmitted from person to person
The recently published results of the H7N9 avian influenza virus investigation give serious cause for concern. So far, the scientists actually assumed that this bird flu virus cannot be transmitted from person to person. Unfortunately, the experts seem to have been wrong in their assumption.
H7N9 multiplies in human cells and can be transmitted between mammals
In laboratory tests, the scientists found that H7H9 is also able to multiply in human cells. The researchers also made another terrifying finding in their study of the bird flu virus. Laboratory tests on ferrets have shown that the virus can now also be transmitted between mammals, the authors explain.
Some samples of H7N9 were already resistant to common drugs
What makes the containment of the virus even more problematic is that some of the samples are already resistant to common medication. Actually, it is only a matter of time before the H7N9 virus continues to mutate, the experts explain. If this happens, the virus could get completely out of control. For this reason, the scientists led by the professor from Japan demand that the development of H7N9 be observed with the utmost vigilance. (as)