Researchers in the US and Denmark took on that task. Their findings, published as a preprint study, show that cows have the same receptors for flu viruses as humans and birds. Scientists fear that cows could be mixing bowls – hosts that help the virus learn to better spread between people. Such an event, while rare, experts say, could put us on the path to another pandemic.

For years, H5N1, or highly pathogenic avian influenza, has been primarily confined to the bird population, but it has recently begun to infect a growing number of mammals, suggesting that the virus might be adapting and moving closer to becoming a human pathogen.

Avian flu viruses have decimated commercial poultry flocks in the US, and because pigs are known to catch bird flu viruses, swine have been closely monitored for signs of infection – but cows weren’t on anyone’s radar as potential hosts. He notes that this is early research. But he said the findings are also important because no one had really looked to at the susceptibility of cow tissues to influenza A viruses before.


Geobbels would be impressed — WHO Pandemic Treaty decision — May 27, 2024