Researchers from the School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University published a report according to which the next pandemic, which can cause the death of thousands of people around the world, will be caused by a virus infection transmitted by airborne droplets.
According to researchers, the threat from such pathogens of deadly diseases, like the Ebola virus or the virus of Zik, is greatly exaggerated. It is much more likely that a global epidemic will be caused by an RNA-containing virus, the genetic material of which is presented in the form of nucleic acids that are less stable than DNA. This allows the infectious agent to rapidly mutate, bypassing the immune system of the infected, which makes it potentially fatal.
Scientists have identified typical signs of such an infection, having analyzed possible factors contributing to the global epidemic. So, the virus must be able to infect other people before the vector shows the first symptoms, and it must be unfamiliar to the immune system of most hosts. In addition, the infection rate should be characterized by a relatively low (in comparison with hemorrhagic fevers) level of mortality. Similar properties have influenza pathogens, colds and SARS.
One of the most deadly pandemics – “Spaniard” – was caused by the flu virus. They infected 29.5 percent of the world’s population, and the lethality was 10-20 percent. The Ebola virus has a mortality rate of up to 90 percent.