Thursday, January 25, 2007

Resurrecting The Most Deadly Virus In Human History

To Stop It From Killing Tens Of Millions Again

"The Immune Response Is Contributing To The Lethality Of The Virus"

Another report on the ressurection of the 1918 'Spanish Flu' virus, and how experiments on infecting monkeys with the 'reborn' H1N1 virus have revealed the truth lethality of the flu that killed 40 to 60 million people in 1918-1919.

Basically, the researchers now assume that the way the monkeys were consumed by the virus is pretty close to how humans succumbed to it.

The first signs of infection appear within 24 hours of exposure, the immune system goes into overdrive to fight the virus, but end up filling the lungs with blood and fluid. On top of all the other terrible ways the H1N1 destroys the human body, the victim ends up, literally, drowning on their own blood.

The mainstream media has been unusually quiet on the results of the 'Spanish Flu Ressurection' experiments, even though the actual discovery of a frozen victim of the 1918-19 pandemic recieved enormous global media coverage, as did the early days of the research to recreate the original virus from tissue cultures drawn from the frozen corpse.

Perhaps the reality of how tens or hundreds of millions of people will die should the current H5N1 virus mutate into a pandemic flu strain is just far too gruesome.

From (excerpts) :
The deadly 1918 flu virus harms monkeys the same way today's bird flu strikes some people, says a new study led by a UW-Madison researcher.

Both viruses inflict an unusual immune response that kills instead of protects, the study found.

The discovery could encourage doctors to treat bird flu with immune-suppressing drugs such as steroids in addition to the antiviral medications now used, said Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a UW-Madison virologist and lead author of the study.

In the study, published in today's issue of the journal Nature, scientists infected cynomolgus macaque monkeys with the 1918 virus. The monkeys virtually drowned in their own inflammatory fluid that poured into their lungs, as many people reportedly did during the 1918 pandemic.

The finding could quicken officials' response to a new pandemic by enabling doctors to treat an immune reaction along with the flu itself, Kawaoka said.

"We may be able to reduce the symptoms by coping with that immune response," he said.

Kawaoka worked on the study with researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The monkeys were infected in a tightly-controlled part of the Canadian lab. It is designated biosafety level 4, or BSL- 4, meaning it is equipped to handle the most dangerous germs.

Ten monkeys were infected with the 1918 virus. Three were given a routine flu virus from 2001.

The monkeys that received the routine flu had strong immune reactions that subsided as the monkeys recovered from the infection.

The immune reactions in the monkeys that got the 1918 virus were weaker initially - but failed to go away. As the virus continued to grow in their bodies, their immune systems unleashed "profuse watery and bloody liquid" into their lungs, causing deadly disease, the researchers reported.

"The immune response is actually contributing to the lethality of the virus," said co-author Michael Katze, a University of Washington microbiologist.

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