"New Mutations Identified in Bird Flu Virus"

"A genetic analysis sheds light on when the outbreak began, how the virus spread and where it may be going."

"The bird flu virus sweeping across dairy farms in multiple states has acquired dozens of new mutations, including some that may make it more adept at spreading between species and less susceptible to antiviral drugs, according to a new study.

None of the mutations is a cause for alarm on its own. But they underscore the possibility that as the outbreak continues, the virus may evolve in ways that would allow it to spread easily between people, experts said.

“Flu mutates all the time — it’s what, sort of, flu does,” said Richard Webby, an influenza expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who was not involved in the work.

“The real key would be if we start to see some of these mutations getting more prevalent,” Dr. Webby said. “That would raise the risk level.”"

Apoorva Mandavilli and Emily Anthes reports for the New York Times May 3, 2024.

Source: NYTimes, 05/06/2024