The Next Pandemic?

So, we will have to prepare for the next one.  That I’d say will get attention this time.”  Bill Gates

Bird flu is turning up in more than 40 wild bird species in more than 30 states. But unlike a similar bird flu outbreak 7 years ago; this one is unlikely to just burn itself out. As it moves across the country, it will encounter new animal species that “could” get infected and there is also the possibility that it will “get a chance” to genetically mingle with the flu viruses already circulating in the U.S. 

Some 24 million chickens and turkeys have already been lost either because they died from the virus or were killed to prevent its spread. And it’s probably going to get worse.

And even though the CDC has “assured” us that this particular virus doesn’t have the genetic features previously associated with related bird flus that have infected humans, they are monitoring the health of more than 500 people in 25 states who were “exposed” to infected birds.  Only a few, so far, have developed flu-like symptoms but when tested they were negative for this virus.

Several years ago I would have accepted the CDC’s assurance that we’re safe because, we all know, they follow the science. 

Related bird flu viruses have jumped into people in the past and there is always the possibility this virus could mutate and gain the ability to infect humans like the Asian H7N9 and the highly pathogenic Avian Asian lineage H5N1. The Avian influenza A viruses can be transmitted from animals to humans from direct contact with infected birds or through an intermediate host, such as swine.

In 2004, H5N1 killed 32 of 44 people infected. Most of those people had close contact with poultry but, 2 of the people who died did not, suggesting that they got the virus from another person, according to researcher published  in the Jan. 27 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.  Arnold Monto, MD, of the University of Michigan, wrote, “no one knows if or when the Asian bird flu virus will start spreading among humans but, we must be ready to stop if it we can.  In 1918, the so-called Spanish flu killed 20 to 40 million people.  Flu pandemics in 1957 and 1968 each claimed about 1 million lives. All three diseases came from bird viruses.

British scientists warned that the H7N9 virus could also become the “cause” of the next pandemic. While it currently cannot be spread by human-to-human contact, experiments have shown that it is just 3 mutations away from being able to do just that.  

In 2014, scientists at the University of Wisconsin created a virus very similar to the 1918 Spanish flu using a technique called reverse genetics, from fragments of wild bird flu strains. They also mutated the virus to make it airborne, a characteristic of the most dangerous deadly diseases.  At the time they claimed they did it to “understand” the risk that viruses pose to humans.  Of course they did!

In 2019, the National Library of Medicine reported that the H9N2 avian influenza viruses had globally spread in poultry over the last two decades and posed a genuine threat both to the poultry industry and humans through their high rates of zoonotic infection and pandemic potential.

In 2021, Russia reported to the World Health Organization its first case of the H5N8 strain passing to humans, according to Reuters.  In addition to Russia and Europe, outbreaks of H5N8 were also reported in China, the Middle East and North Africa but only in poultry, so far.

Currently, China is fighting the H5N6 Avian influenza which they claim is linked to a wet market.  Sound familiar? To date, the number of people infected has reached 19.  While I couldn’t find any report of deaths from the infection, the World Health Organization says that this strain causes severe illness in humans of all ages and has killed at least half of those infected.

Is this the next pandemic that Bill Gates warned us about?  After all, who better to know than someone who has funded gain-of-function research here and abroad experimenting with amino acid sequences to make bird flu a pathogen to humans?

I think the Covid pandemic was a wakeup call. I don’t believe it’s the great pandemic.  I believe the great pandemic is still in the future, and that’s going to be bird flu pandemic for man. It’s gonna have significant mortality in the 10-50% range. It’s gonna be trouble. Robert Redfield, former CDC director

Source:  A NEW, DEADLY bird flu is infecting birds in the US by Nell Greenfield Boyce, NPR; Deadly Chinese poultry flu could be ‘disease X’ that sparks worldwide pandemic, by Anne Gulland, Telegraph, UK; China bird flu outbreak: 19 human cases of H5N6 avian influenza linked to wet market, Express, UK

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