Wednesday, June 24, 2009

H1N1 Virus had year 1918 a close relative in Spain

It turns out that the 1918 influenza pandemic was due to an H1N1 flu virus, and the current swine flu is also an H1N1 variant (but not exactly the same as the earlier one).
Spain flu killed then some 20M people.
Pigs might have spread the current strain of influenza to humans, attracting worldwide attention, but new Canadian-led research suggests that we might have given pigs the flu in the first place, during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
The new virus isn't as deadly, because it lacks the genes that made the 1918 pandemic strain so lethal.
The CDC in the U.S. said on Friday the new strain is "a very unusual" combination of human genes and genes from swine and avian flu viruses found in North America, Asia and Europe.

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