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Unformatted text preview: CDC researchers and their colleagues have successfully reconstructed the influenza virus that caused the 1918-19 flu pandemic, which killed as many as 50 million people worldwide. A report of their work, &quot; Characterization of the Reconstructed 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic Virus (/media/pressrel /r051005.htm) ,&quot; was published in the October 7 issue of Science . The work is a collaboration among scientists from CDC, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (http://www.mssm.edu/) , the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (http://www.afip.org/) , and Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (http://www.ars.usda.gov/) . The following questions and answers describe this important research and related issues. Background on the Research What research does the Science article describe? Why is it important? This report describes the successful reconstruction of the influenza A (H1N1) virus responsible for the 1918 &quot;Spanish flu&quot; pandemic and provides novel information about the properties that contributed to its exceptional virulence. This information is critical to evaluating the effectiveness of current and future public health interventions, which could be used in the event that a 1918-like strain reemerges, either naturally or through deliberate release. The knowledge from this work may also shed light on the pathogenesis of contemporary human influenza viruses with pandemic potential. The natural emergence of another pandemic virus is considered highly likely by many experts, and therefore novel insights into pathogenic mechanisms could contribute to the development of prophylactic and therapeutic interventions needed to control pandemic viruses. What are the reasons for doing these experiments? The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people worldwide, many more than the subsequent pandemics of the 20th century. The biological properties that confer virulence to pandemic influenza viruses were poorly understood. Research to better understand how the individual genes of the1918 pandemic influenza virus contribute to the disease process could provide important insights into the basis of virulence. This kind of information will enable us to devise appropriate strategies for early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, should a similar pandemic virus emerge. Additionally, such research will provide us with general principles with which we can better design antiviral drugs and other interventions against all influenza viruses with enhanced virulence. Who funded the work described in this article? Work with the reconstructed 1918 virus was conducted at and supported by CDC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) all provided support for many other aspects of this research....
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This note was uploaded on 07/07/2010 for the course BSCU 425 taught by Professor Rollins during the Fall '10 term at Maryland.
- Fall '10