THE NEW BLACK DEATH!
Docs fear millions will die as deadly virus jumps from bats to humans
BOFFINS in a British hospital have discovered a deadly virus that could DEVASTATE the world.
The terrifying bug is so new it hasn’t even been named – but experts fear it could wipe out MILLIONS.
Doctors first thought that a 49-year-old man admitted to London’s St Thomas Hospital last month was suffering from SARS – the virus that threatened to turn into a plague in 2003.
But tests proved it was a brand new strain that until now has been unable to infect humans.
The patient – from Qatar in the Middle East – was infected with a virus normally only found in BATS. It had only been seen once before in humans – when it claimed its first life.
Now doctors fear the illness can be spread human to human – making it as contagious as the flu and TEN TIMES more deadly.
Experts cannot say for certain whether this deadly new virus will be as spread as feared.
But what they do know is that, like all the biggest killers of the last 500 years, the illness has made the leap from animals to humans.
And that has sparked concerns we are heading for a deadly plague that could be as devasting as the BLACK DEATH in the middle ages that wiped out a third of the population.
There is one crumb of comfort – leading virologist Professor John Oxford, from Queen Mary’s Hospital, London, says we now have the technology to fight plagues.
He said: “We now have scientific processes enabling us to quickly identify the genome of the virus behind a new illness, so that we know what we are dealing with. After that we can develop and stockpile vaccines.”
THE BLACK DEATH: Spread by fleas on black rats, it reduced the world population by 100m people. MALARIA: Comes from mosquito bites and kills around 1.5m people every year. IN A FLAP: The
deadly virus spread by bats has caused panic
SCARE: St Thomas’