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Study uncovers a lethal secret of 1918 influenza virus January 18, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, News, Science & Technology.
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Study uncovers a lethal secret of 1918 influenza virus « Biosingularity
In a study of non-human primates infected with the influenza virus that killed 50 million people in 1918, an international team of scientists has found a critical clue to how the virus killed so quickly and efficiently.

Importantly, the new work shows that infection with the virus prompted an immune response that seems to derail the body’s typical reaction to viral infection and instead unleashes an attack by the immune system on the lungs. As immune cells attack the respiratory system, the lungs fill with fluid and victims, in essence, drown.

The same excessive immune reaction is characteristic of the deadly complications of H5N1 avian influenza, the strain of bird flu present in Asia and which has claimed nearly 150 human lives but has not yet shown a capacity to spread easily among people.  BBC coverage

Old & new world birds don’t normally share flu.


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