US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code

Lori Price

Researchers recreate 1918 flu pandemic virusWhy? And, why is no one *asking* why? 29 Dec 2008 Researchers have found out what made the 1918 flu pandemic so deadly — a group of three genes that lets the virus invade the lungs and cause pneumonia. They mixed samples of the 1918 influenza strain with modern seasonal flu viruses to find the three genes and said their study might help in the development of new flu drugs. The discovery, published in Tuesday’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could also point to mutations that might turn ordinary flu into a dangerous pandemic strain. Most flu experts agree that a pandemic of influenza will almost certainly strike again. No one knows when [the US unleashes it] or what strain it will be but one big suspect now is the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

US and Japanese researchers crack flu pandemic’s deadly code 30 Dec 2008 The genetic code that made the 1918 killer flu so deadly has finally been cracked, claim US and Japanese researchers, who say their discovery may lead to new drugs able to keep foment future outbreaks in check. By experimenting with genetic material recovered from preserved lung tissues of three victims of the so-called Spanish influenza, a team led by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka claims the virus landed a lethal one-two punch. First, it disrupted normal immune reactions, as previously known. But then it infected its victims’ lungs with deadly consequences. Ordinary flu bugs infect just the nose and throat.

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  • Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice.