Cows Are Potential Spreaders of Bird Flu to Humans


Might 10, 2024 — Cow udders have the identical receptors for flu viruses as people and birds, elevating considerations that cows may grow to be “mixing vessels” that assist the bird flu virus unfold between folks.

That is in response to new analysis performed by scientists on the College of Copenhagen and St. Jude Kids’s Analysis Hospital in Memphis and revealed as a preprint study in bioRxiv.

The scientists examined samples of mind, respiratory, and mammary gland tissue taken from a small variety of cows and a calf. They stained the tissues and put it underneath the microscope to see what sort of receptors would be found. 

They found that the sacs of the cows’ udders had been loaded with the type of flu receptors related to birds in addition to these present in folks. These receptors are the sort that fowl flu viruses like H5N1 can connect to. Tissue from the mind and respiratory tract of the cows had far fewer of the receptors.

“These outcomes present a mechanistic rationale for the excessive ranges of H5N1 virus reported in contaminated bovine milk and present cattle have the potential to behave as a mixing vessel for novel [influenza virus] technology,” the researchers wrote within the examine.

When an animal acts as a mixing vessel, totally different flu strains can swap genetic materials to kind new sorts of ailments.

Pigs could be contaminated with human and fowl flu viruses and have beforehand been considered potential mixing vessels for viruses that might pose a pandemic menace, Stat Information reported. The brand new examine means that cows may grow to be mixing vessels for a fowl flu pandemic.

“The brand new pre-print reveals convincingly that cows harbor each human-flu and avian-flu receptors of their mammary glands,” Sam Scarpino, PhD, director of synthetic intelligence and life sciences at Northeastern College, said on X, previously referred to as Twitter. “In consequence, dairy cattle *could* have comparable potential as pigs to function evolutionary intermediaries between avian and human flus.”

Since late March, fowl infections have been present in 42 herds throughout 9 states, in response to the  USDA.

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