Researchers at UW lab create close copy of 'Spanish flu' pandemic virus

Total madness! Look at where HIV got them.


Image: Bryce Richter / UW-Madison

Journal Sentinel
By Karen Herzog
12 June 2014

An international team of researchers led by a University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist created a life-threatening virus in a high-containment lab in Madison nearly identical to the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic that killed a staggering 50million people worldwide, according to an article published Wednesday in a major science journal.

The controversial research, intended to show that bird flu viruses currently circulating in nature have the same pandemic potential as the 1918 Spanish flu, is drawing sharp criticism from around the world as highly risky.

The new virus scientists created in the Madison lab through reverse genetics methods was more deadly in mice and ferrets than an ordinary, existing bird flu virus, but was not as deadly as the 1918 virus — one of recorded history's most devastating outbreaks of disease.

The research published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe shows "there are gene pools in nature that have the potential to cause a severe pandemic in the future," said UW-Madison's Yoshihiro Kawaoka, senior author of the report and an internationally recognized authority on avian flu.

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