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. Â 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. Â It seems unlikely that in the modern era, with science, such a scenario could ever arise from a contagion such as bird flu,Â however deadly its human variant may be. Â 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.