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New bird flu virus kills China woman

Chinese scientists sounded the alarm yesterday after a new bird flu virus, H10N8, killed an elderly woman in December and infected another individual last month, AFP reported.

The fifth novel influenza strain to emerge in 17 years, the virus has a worrying genetic profile and should be closely monitored, they reported in The Lancet medical journal.

It appears to be able to infect tissue deep in the lung and may have features allowing it to spread efficiently among humans, said scientists.

"The pandemic potential of this novel virus should not be underestimated," said the team headed by Dr Yuelong Shu from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing.