Virologists predicted a new strain of influenza – worse than coronavirus

In the future, a new strain of influenza may appear, which will be much more dangerous than SARS-CoV-2. Mixing (reassorting) of avian and human viruses can lead to its occurrence.

About it Ura.ru said virologists – an employee of the Gamaleya Center Anatoly Altstein and a professor at the Belozersky Institute of Moscow State University Alexei Agranovsky.

Altstein noted that when avian and human viruses recombine, humans can become infected. In this case, there is a risk of very severe epidemics.

“That’s quite possible. They are working on it. They think about it all the time. And preparations for such a possible pandemic are underway. The likelihood of this is not so great, but such a thing is possible, and I do not exclude that in the future we will face such epidemics in which the coronavirus will seem like child’s play, ”the virologist explained.

He added that the occurrence of such a flu virus is a rare event. However, with the most massive pandemic in the history of mankind – “Spanish flu” – all criteria were met. Altstein explained that every virus, including avian or human, has eight pieces of genetic material. He noted that when two viruses enter the cell at once, parts of their genomes easily mix.

Agranovsky, using the example of COVID-19 and influenza, said that the infection can change.

“The coronavirus is a huge 28 gigabyte flash drive, let’s say. And the flu virus is eight flash drives, each of which is, say, two to six gigabytes. Replacing one flash drive with another gives completely new properties. The pathogenic potential there is very serious, ”he explained.

The virologist stressed that the coronavirus pandemic will force people to be much more attentive to the world of viruses.

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