According to a new study: The next pandemic will likely be caused by influenza

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Influenza is still the biggest threat to global health, and the WHO fears the spread of the bird strain. Scientists point out that influenza will be the most likely culprit for new pandemics in the future, writes "Guardian".

An international study, to be published next week, reveals that 57 percent of epidemiologists and virologists believe that some type of flu will cause the next pandemic.

The belief that influenza is the biggest pandemic is based on long-term research showing that the virus is constantly evolving and mutating, says John Salmonton-Garcia from the University of Cologne.

"Every winter is flu season. We could explain them as small pandemics. They are more or less controlled because the different strains that cause them are not virulent enough, but this will not always be the case," explains Salmonton-Garcia.

Details of the study, which includes contributions from 187 scientists, will be presented at the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases congress in Barcelona next weekend.

Twenty-one percent of the scientists in the survey believe that the cause of the new pandemic will be the so-called "disease X" virus, which is still unknown to science. They believe it will be an as yet undiscovered microorganism that suddenly appears, like Sars-Cov-2, which was the cause of the 2019 pandemic.

Some scientists, 15 percent of them, believe that Sars-Cov-2 is still a threat and that some future strain will cause a pandemic.

Other deadly microorganisms, such as Lassa, Nipah, Ebola and Zika virus, were identified as serious threats by only one to two percent of study participants.

"Influenza remains the greatest threat in terms of its pandemic potential in the eyes of the vast majority of scientists," adds Salmonton-Garcia.

Last week, the WHO warned of the alarming spread of the H5N1 flu strain that has caused millions of bird flu cases across the planet. Its spread began in 2020 and has led to millions of deaths or killing of poultry, as well as the death of millions of wild birds.

Recently, the virus has spread to mammals, including cattle, and cases have been reported in 12 US states, raising fears of possible spread to humans. The more species of mammals the virus manages to infect, the more chances it has to evolve into a species dangerous to humans.

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