A new strain of deadly bird flu which kills 38 per cent of those infected and could spark a global pandemic has been identified in China.
Scientists around the world believe the new pathogen, dubbed “Disease X”, could be as lethal as 1918 Spanish flu which killed up to 100million people.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, told The Telegraph that virus H7N9, which is circulating poultry in China, could cause a global outbreak.
He said: “[H7N9] is an example of another virus which has proven its ability to transmit from birds to humans.
“It’s possible that it could be the cause of the next pandemic.”
In China, the deadly pathogen has killed 623 of the 1,625 people which have been infected.