Dr. Shayan Sharif an avian immunologist with the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) explained the concern behind the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPIA) H5N1 avian flu to several media outlets.  

Dr. Shayan Sharif poses for a photo in front of a window
Dr. Shayan Sharif

Sharif spoke to The Atlantic and said the current spread is unprecedented, noting the virus is adapting to mammals. 

To The Globe and Mail, he emphasized that the virus’ spread should not spark panic, saying: “This is the time to get ready for a potential pandemic virus. This is a wake up call.” 

Speaking to CTV’s Your Morning, Sharif explained that the risk of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPIA) virus currently jumping to humans is still low. 

For a Canadian Press article, he said the spread of the virus from birds to mammals is something to “take very seriously, extremely seriously.” The article appeared in several publications across the country including the Toronto Star. He also spoke with the Western Producer. 

Sharif is the associate dean of research and graduate studies at the OVC and a professor in the Department of Pathobiology where he researches poultry immunology.