They identified which amino acids are most likely to mutate
Q: How would scientists fight the virus if it were to mutate
and become easily contagious among humans?
Because the virus continues to mutate
, it poses a new threat each year.
Every time it enters a human being, it is given a new opportunity to mutate
If and when the H5N1 virus mutates
into a strain that retains its lethal effects and becomes highly transmissible from human to human, the clock will start ticking, and the race against time to control the pandemic will begin.
However, he continued, a global pandemic "could become a reality if this virus mutates
further, remains highly virulent, and acquires the capability to spread as efficiently from person to person as do the commonly circulating virus strains that produce seasonal influenza epidemics."
Experts are no longer talking of wiping out the disease, but of containing it before it mutates
Experts do not think it will return to infect humans unless there is an unlucky escape from a laboratory or the virus mutates
into an entirely new form.