Scientists have discovered that a strain of bird flu responsible for the death of an 11-year-old girl in Cambodia has mutated to become more infectious to human cells, which is concerning. The scientists who made this discovery on the ground emphasized that this finding should be treated with utmost concern. They also indicated that there were some indications that the virus had already infected a human and acquired the new mutations before infecting the girl. Although the virus has not fully adapted to humans, the new mutations could allow it to replicate better or potentially bind to cells in our respiratory tract more efficiently. The virus is still fundamentally a bird virus and is unlikely to cause a major outbreak in its current form.
The girl had caught the 18.104.22.168c strain of H5N1, which is found in wild birds and poultry in Cambodia. This differs from the 22.214.171.124b type that has spread rapidly around the world and infected many birds and mammals, but the scientists warned against downplaying the threat. They called for continued monitoring of the virus, as it is unclear what could cause the problem tomorrow.
The 126.96.36.199b strain has devastated the world's bird population, and there are concerns that it could jump from birds to humans, potentially triggering a pandemic. Health authorities in Cambodia have found no evidence of human-to-human spread yet, but investigations are ongoing, and it cannot be ruled out entirely. With a human mortality rate of around 50 percent, it is crucial to monitor the virus and take preventive measures.