Academic journal article The Science Teacher

1918 Flu Antibodies

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

1918 Flu Antibodies

Article excerpt

Ninety years after the sweeping destruction of the 1918 flu pandemic, researchers at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University have recovered antibodies to the virus--from elderly survivors of the original outbreak.

In addition to revealing the surprisingly long-lasting immunity to such viruses, these antibodies could be effective treatments to have on hand if another virus similar to the 1918 flu breaks out in the future. The study, led by James Crowe Jr., professor of pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt Program in Vaccine Sciences, and his colleagues, is published online in the journal Nature.

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed nearly 50 million people worldwide, many of whom were young, healthy adults. With fears of another looming flu pandemic stoked by the emergence of "bird flu" in Asia, researchers have wanted to study the 1918 virus and the immune response to it.

In 2005, researchers from Mount Sinai and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC, resurrected the 1918 virus from the bodies of people killed in the outbreak. …

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