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New form of bird flu claims first victim

A new and potentially deadly form of bird flu has claimed its first confirmed human life. Tests revealed that a previously-unknown substrain of the H10N8 virus killed a woman who was admitted to hospital in China with fever and pneumonia.

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New bird flu substrain a 'cause for concern'

The latest case of bird flu in China, which appears to be related to a substrain of the H10N8 virus, is already displaying some worrying characteristics, an expert in infectious diseases has said.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, told BBC News:

We should always be worried when viruses cross the species barrier from birds or animals to humans as it is very unlikely that we will have prior immunity to protect us.

We should be especially worried when those viruses show characteristics that suggest they have the capacity to replicate easily or to be virulent or resistant to drugs. This virus ticks several of these boxes and therefore is a cause for concern.

– Dr Jeremy Farrar, director, Wellcome Trust

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