Long before the H7N9 novel coronavirus emerged in the mainland, University of Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, along with other researchers, warned the world that if another Sars-like pandemic struck, the disease would likely come from an animal. Some even went as far as to pinpoint the bird as a carrier.
The influenza A(H7N9) virus is one subgroup among the larger group of H7 viruses that normally circulate among birds. A number of human infections of the H7N9 virus have been reported in eastern China, mostly in the Yangtze River Delta region since late March 2013. Some of the patients have died of severe pneumonia brought on by the virus.