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Influenza set to become new pandemic

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 18:48, 20 April 2024  
Influenza set to become new pandemic

The pathogen that is most likely to cause a new pandemic is the influenza virus, according to scientists.

57% of senior disease experts now believe that a strain of the flu virus will be the trigger of the next global outbreak of deadly infectious illness, according to an international survey involving inputs from a total of 187 senior scientists, set to be released next weekend at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) congress in Barcelona.

This belief is based on long-term research by Cologne University’s Jon Salmanton-García, as it revealed how influenza is constantly evolving and mutating.

“Each winter influenza appears...You could describe these outbreaks as little pandemics. They are more or less controlled because the different strains that cause them are not virulent enough – but that will not necessarily be the case forever.”

As respondents who took the survey varied in their responses, Salmanton-García said, “Influenza remained – by a very large degree, the number one threat in terms of its pandemic potential in the eyes of a large majority of world scientists.”

Highlighting the neglect of precautions learned during the Covid-19 pandemic, Salmanton-García emphasized, “People have gone back to coughing into their hands and then shaking hands with other people. Mask-wearing has disappeared. We are going back to our old bad habits. We may come to regret that.”

According to 21% of experts who partook in the study, after influenza, the second most likely to trigger a pandemic is a virus dubbed Disease X which is still vague to science. 

The experts believe that the upcoming pandemic will be triggered by a currently unknown micro-organism emerging out of the blue, just like the Sars-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19).

(With inputs from agencies)