Dr. Shayan Sharif, an avian immunologist with the Ontario Veterinary College, spoke to several news outlets about avian flu, following the death of a pet dog from the disease as well as the spread of a new avian flu subtype.
Newsweek consulted Sharif about H3N8 avian flu after a woman died after contracting the virus which previously had not been known to be able to infect humans. Sharif commented that all influenza viruses undergo constant mutations and genetic re-assortments, which is what led to the emergence of this new strain of H3N8.
Regarding the continuing spread of H5N1 avian flu, Sharif told The Canadian Press he’s concerned by the virus’s spread from birds to an ever-growing list of mammals. The article appeared in several publications, including the Toronto Star and CP24.
Speaking to CTVNews.ca, he said the recent death of a dog from H5Ni avian influenza is worrisome but noted the virus is not well adapted to mammals, which makes it difficult for the virus to transmit between them.
Sharif also spoke to CTV Kitchener and explained concerns about what could happen if the virus adapts to infect humans easily.
Several news outlets have consulted him in recent weeks for his expertise on avian influenza, given continued surges of the disease.
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.