Conditions ripe for flu pandemic that could kill 300-million, chair of Global Health Council warns

Dr Jonathan Quick
Dr Jonathan Quick

Dr. Jonathan Quick, chairman of the Global Health Council,  has warned conditions are ripe for a flu pandemic that will wipe out millions.

He fears The Big One is coming – a global virus pandemic that could kill 33-million victims in its first 200 days and more than 300-million in the following two years.

The most likely culprit for such a horror scenario would be a new and unprecedentedly deadly mutation of  the influenza virus.

According to Quick the flu virus is ” the most diabolical, hardest-to-control and fastest-spreading potential viral killer known to mankind.”

For a pandemic to happen there has to be a dramatic shift in the flu virus.

He believes in this regard potentially the most dangerous strain of influenza is bird flu.   Also known as avian flu, three strains have caused concern in recent years – H5N1, H7N9 and H5N6.

Of those in his view H5N1 poses the greatest threat of mutating and causing the next killer pandemic. Although the number of people that have died from this strain of bird flu so far is small, the  mortality rate of those infected has been more than 50 percent compared to the two to three percent in the case of the Spanish flu.

“If a new and highly contagious strain of H5N1 were to evolve and hitchhike on an aeroplane, the pandemic situation would quickly assume disaster movie proportions.

“Somewhere out there a flu virus is boiling up in the bloodstream of a bird, bat, monkey or pig preparing to jump to a human being.

“When that happens the resulting new human strain can kill us more easily because it is unknown to us and our bodies have zero immunity to it.”

This is most likely how the Spanish flu, which killed around 100-million people in 1918, took hold he said.

At the extreme, with a disrupted supply of food and medicines and without enough survivors to run computer or energy systems, the global economy would collapse and starvation and looting could lay waste to parts of the world he warned.

Dr Quick says humanity is setting itself up for the oncoming pandemic by continuing to purchase cheap meat, in particular chicken and pork, from factory farms where animals” are packed together by the millions in conditions that can be  fetid incubators of disease.”

These giant industrial farms were the birthplace of the  H1N1 swine flu that emerged in 2009 and killed an estimated 572 000 worldwide.

He said  the strain originally had three human flu genes before picking up segments of two different bird flus from a farm.

Factory farms could very likely be the birthplace of the next killer pandemic and the renegade influenza viruses they spawn could one day annihilate the people they feed he said.

Despite his terrifying predictions Quick says there are measures that can be taken to ward off  what he currently sees as “the inevitable.”

The single most vital thing that must be done is to develop a universal flu vaccine to replace the yearly jab which merely offers protection against the few flu strains the WHO predicts will be most prevalent in a particular year.

He hopes a new vaccine being developed at the University of California will bring the world closer to that reality.

Dr Quick is the author of “The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It” published this week.






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