Seal Flu Mutation Raises Fears

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i09 have uploaded an ominous article on the mutation of the H3N8 virus, a type of bird flu that has successfully mutated to seals and is causing havoc.

The mutation raises fears that a similar process could occur in humans, with H5N1 mutating and causing a new, global flu pandemic.

A global pandemic – one which could wipe out a large percentage of the human population – has been in and out of the headlines of our fears for the past decade.  Such a mutation appears possible – maybe even inevitable – but whether it ever turns out to be as bad as worst case scenario projections suggest remains to be seen.

Many sci-fi premises feature a whittled down human race: one that has been ravished by disease and plague to leave just a few survivors.  It seems unlikely that in the modern era, with science, such a scenario could ever arise from a contagion such as bird flu, however deadly its human variant may be.  Natural immunities to various similar virii, quarantines and pioneering research (which is limited until the virus actually mutates) would be enough to stage a defence against infection.

For more details, have a read at TIME’s piece.

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