Monday, April 27, 2009
From the Conspiraloon Heritage Archive...
"Alaskan Victim of 1918 Flu Yields Sample of Killer Virus
Published: Sunday, February 8, 1998
A specimen of the influenza virus that killed 21 million people in the 1918 worldwide epidemic has been recovered from the frozen remains of a flu victim buried in Alaska.
Researchers at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology announced on Thursday that biopsy samples from a corpse exhumed from a cemetery in Brevig Mission, Alaska, contained genetic material from the flu.
Experts have said that analyzing the genetic pattern of the 1918 virus will help scientists learn how it was able to kill so many people and will help them prepare vaccines against the virus if it resurfaces."
Last year, Army researchers identified the flu virus in preserved lung specimens taken during autopsies of soldiers killed by the flu in 1918 at military bases in Fort Jackson, S.C., and Camp Upton, N.Y., which is now the site of Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.
At Brevig Mission, Dr. Johan Hultin, a retired San Francisco pathologist, exhumed four bodies from a mass grave and found that one, an obese woman, had been well-preserved. Tissue from her lung contained genes from the killer flu.
Dr. Jeffery K. Taubenberger of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology said last year that the genetic pattern of the 1918 flu virus was unlike that of any other flu but was closely related to that of the so-called swine flu. He said that although the 1918 epidemic was called the Spanish flu, the virus apparently was a mutation that evolved in American pigs and was spread by United States troops mobilized for World War I.
The finding supports a widespread theory that flu viruses from swine are the most virulent for humans. Both the Asian flu virus of 1957 and the Hong Kong flu virus of 1968 mutated in pigs.
The 1918 flu genes were first isolated last year from the lung tissue of an Army private who had died at Fort Jackson. Army doctors in 1918 preserved specimens in formaldehyde and wax from some of the 43,000 servicemen killed by the flu.
The epidemic caused about 700,000 deaths in the United States."