Scientists are clear which virus will cause the next pandemic: it is already among us

57% of the scientific community is clear what virus will cause the next pandemic. So far, it seemed like the main theory was that it would be “Disease X.” The concept, which may well have been invented by Elon Musk, was dreamed up by experts who believe the next episode of global health danger will be caused by a pathogen as yet unknown to science.

There is a lot of debate about diseases. top priority for research. This classification includes known killers such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which caused Covid and Ebola.

Thousands of scientific laboratories around the world are trying to find out what virus will be responsible for the diseaseto the point that vaccines are already being developed with the potential to become universal. Virus X was even discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

But what do the experts think? Is it really an undiscovered virus that we should be worried about and focus our efforts on? Well, according to an international survey of eminent scientists from around the world: no. In fact, 57% of high-level disease specialists understand that influenza is the most likely causative agent provoke a new pandemic in the near future.

In particular, they believe that strain of influenza virus will cause the next global outbreak deadly infectious disease. And because? The belief that influenza is the biggest global pandemic threat is based on long-term studies showing that it is constantly evolving and mutating, said John Salmanton-Garcia of the University of Cologne, an author of the study.

“Every winter there’s a flu,” he notes. “These outbreaks can be described as small pandemics. They are more or less controlled because the various strains that cause them are not virulent enough. It won’t necessarily be like this forever.

Details of the study, which involved 187 senior scientists, will be announced at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) congress in Barcelona next weekend, April 27-30.

Experts also do not exclude the “Disease X” hypothesis. In fact, according to 21% of people who took part in the study, the most likely cause of a pandemic after the flu will be a virus still unknown to science.

This part of the participants believes that the next pandemic will be caused by an as yet unidentified microorganism that will appear out of nowhere. as is the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.when it started infecting people in 2019.

Moreover, some scientists still believe that Sars-CoV-2 remains a threat for human life, as 15% of scientists surveyed in the study consider it the most likely cause of a pandemic in the near future.

The remaining known deadly pathogens, such as the aforementioned Ebola, and other growing threats such as the Zika virus, Nipah virus or Lassa virus, were rated as serious global threats by only 1% to 2% of respondents. .

Bird flu is a growing concern

Thus, influenza continues to be the number one threat… in what form remains to be determined. Attention is now focused on the bird group. In fact, last week WHO raises concerns about alarming spread of H5N1 influenza strain which causes millions of cases of bird flu worldwide.

This outbreak began in 2020 and has killed or destroyed tens of millions of domestic birds and has also wiped out millions of wild birds. More recently, the virus has spread to mammalian species, further heightening concerns about risks to humans.

The more species of mammals the virus infects, the more opportunities it will have to evolve into a strain dangerous to humansDaniel Goldhill, from the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, told the magazine last week. Nature.

The emergence of the H5N1 virus in cattle was a surprise, added virologist Ed Hutchinson from the University of Glasgow. “This means that the risk of the virus getting into the hands of an increasing number of farm animals, and from them to humans, is increasing. The more the virus spreads, the more likely it is to mutate and spread to people. In fact, we’re playing dice with this virus

To date, there is no indication that H5N1 is spreading among humans. In cases where people became infected through contact with animals, the result was quite fatal because people have no natural immunity to the virus. However, cases were specific and outbreaks were controlled.

Moreover, we have come a long way; Unlike Covid-19, vaccines have already been developed against many strains, including H5N1. Despite this, their jump to humans will still pose a huge challenge. As a moral, WHO scientists warn that we cannot “forget” what happened with the Covid pandemic and neglect our health habits. Some say it might take its toll on us.

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