- SINGAPORE -- One of the world's leading experts on bird flu said on Thursday
the H5N1 virus is like nothing he's ever seen, and "God help us"
if it starts spreading among humans.
- "I've worked with flu all my life,
and this is the worst influenza virus that I have ever seen," said
Robert G Webster, a virologist.
- "We have to realise that this influenza
virus in poultry becomes systemic, goes to the brain and causes, essentially,
respiratory Ebola. If that happens in humans, God help us.''
- Webster predicted it would take at least
10 mutations before the H5N1 virus could transmit from human to human.
But he said there's no way to know how long - or if - that would happen.
- "All of those mutations are out
there, but ... the virus hasn't succeeded in bringing it together,'' he
said at the end of a two-day bird flu conference in Singapore organised
by The Lancet medical journal.