Dr. Shayan Sharif, an avian immunologist with the Ontario Veterinary College, spoke to CBC News’ The National about the highly contagious strain of avian influenza that spread across the country this year and led to the deaths or culling of millions of birds.
Sharif commented that the crisis affects global bird populations but could potentially affect human health too.
“Eventually, it could mutate itself such that it could gain the capacity and capability to transmit from poultry to humans,” he said. “And unfortunately, this is the sort of worst-case scenario that we don’t want to happen.”
Sharif is a professor in the Department of Pathobiology and the associate dean of research and graduate studies. He researches the chicken immunology, including avian influenza virus.