Scientists recreating the 1918 flu virus say 'it came from birds'

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

US scientists have recreated the flu virus from the 1918 flu (aka 'Spanish Flu') via reverse genetics from lung tissue samples of persons who died from the pandemic. The flu was resurrected and injected into mice, according to Terrence Tumpey of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "to understand the biological properties that made the 1918 virus so exceptionally deadly."

Disturbingly, the scientists have found genetic mutations and markers that are similar to those in flu viruses found in birds. This has raised concerns that the so-called "Asian bird flu" could spread to humans, becoming the next global flu pandemic.

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