H7N9 Flu Virus May Have Adapted To Mammals
The new flu virus that has exploded onto the global radar is already showing signs that it is adapting to mammals, suggesting what was once a bird virus is now probably spreading in a mammalian host, an influenza expert said Tuesday.
And while it’s not clear what that mammalian host is, the two most obvious choices are pigs or humans, said Dr. Richard Webby, head of the World Health Organization’s influenza collaborating centre at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
“I think that’s what’s concerning about this …This thing doesn’t any longer look like a poultry virus,” Webby, a swine flu expert, said in an interview.
“It really looks to me like it’s adapted in a mammalian host somewhere.”