Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Spanish Flu of 1918

Scientists at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta have resurrected the Spanish Flu virus that killed 50 million people in 1918. Although I have to say that there method is very cool in a Jurassic Park sort of way, it's still pretty scary to think that there are 10 vials of this stuff in Atlanta along with all the other frightening stuff they have stored there.

Why did they do it? Researchers say it may help them better understand -- and develop defenses against -- the threat of a future worldwide epidemic from bird flu.

Like the 1918 virus, the current avian flu in Southeast Asia occurs naturally in birds. In 1918, the virus mutated, infected people and then spread among them. So far, the current Asian virus has killed at least 65 people but has rarely spread person-to-person.

But viruses mutate rapidly and it could soon develop infectious properties like those seen in the 1918 bug, said Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger of the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

I can understand this for the sake of preventing widespread death from Avian Flu, but if Spanish Flu doesn't prove to be useful, can we please destroy it? Otherwise, as it was listed on, "remember 28 days from now that you have to shoot the zombies in the head to kill them."

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