Russia detects world’s first H5N8 bird flu case in humans

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Russia said Saturday that its scientists had detected the world’s archetypal lawsuit of transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu from birds to humans and had alerted the World Health Organization.

In televised remarks, the caput of Russia’s wellness watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said scientists astatine the Vektor laboratory had isolated the strain’s familial worldly from 7 workers astatine a poultry workplace successful confederate Russia, wherever an outbreak was recorded among the birds successful December.

The workers did not endure immoderate superior wellness consequences, she added. They are believed to person caught the microorganism from poultry connected the farm.

“Information astir the world’s archetypal lawsuit of transmission of the avian flu (H5N8) to humans has already been sent to the World Health Organization,” Popova said.

There are antithetic subtypes of avian influenza viruses. 

While the highly contagious strain H5N8 is lethal for birds, it had ne'er earlier been reported to person dispersed to humans.

Popova praised “the important technological discovery”, saying “time volition tell” if the microorganism tin further mutate.

“The find of these mutations erstwhile the microorganism has not inactive acquired an quality to transmit from quality to quality gives america all, the full world, clip to hole for imaginable mutations and respond successful an capable and timely fashion,” Popova said.

The WHO confirmed connected Saturday that it had been notified by Russia astir the development.

“We are successful treatment with nationalist authorities to stitchery much accusation and measure the nationalist wellness interaction of this event,” a spokesperson said. “If confirmed, this would beryllium the archetypal clip H5N8 infects people.”

WHO stressed that the Russian workers were “asymptomatic” and nary onward human-to-human transmission had been reported.

People tin get infected with avian and swine influenza viruses, specified arsenic vertebrate flu subtypes A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) and swine flu subtypes specified arsenic A(H1N1).

According to the WHO, radical usually get infected done nonstop interaction with animals oregon contaminated environments, and determination is nary sustained transmission among humans. 

H5N1 successful radical tin origin terrible unwellness and has a 60% mortality rate. 

‘Tip of the iceberg’

Gwenael Vourc’h, caput of probe astatine France’s National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment, said that influenza viruses are known to germinate “quite quickly” and that determination mightiness person been different cases too those reported successful Russia.

“This is astir apt the extremity of the iceberg,” she told AFP.

Francois Renaud, a researcher astatine the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), said nevertheless that helium was “not peculiarly worried” astatine this stage. 

He added that the coronavirus pandemic had taught countries to respond rapidly to imaginable wellness threats. “Draconian measures volition beryllium taken to instantly halt the outbreak,” helium said.

Avian flu has raged successful respective European countries including France, wherever hundreds of thousands of birds person been culled to halt the infection.

Russia’s Vektor State Virology and Biotechnology Center, which detected the transmission to the poultry workplace workers, besides developed 1 of the country’s respective coronavirus vaccines. 

In the Soviet epoch the lab, located successful Koltsovo extracurricular the Siberian metropolis of Novosibirsk, conducted concealed biologic weapons research. It inactive stockpiles viruses ranging from Ebola to smallpox.

In televised remarks, Vektor main Rinat Maksyutov said the laboratory was acceptable to statesman processing trial kits that would assistance observe imaginable cases of H5N8 successful humans and to statesman enactment connected a vaccine.

The Soviet Union was a technological powerhouse and Russia has sought to reclaim a enactment relation successful vaccine probe nether President Vladimir Putin.

Russia registered coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V successful August, months earlier Western competitors and adjacent earlier large-scale objective trials. 

After archetypal scepticism successful the West, the Lancet diary this period published results showing the Russian vaccine–named aft the Soviet-era satellite–to beryllium harmless and effective.

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