Research NewsVirology

First Genes Isolated From the Deadly 1918 Flu Virus

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Science  21 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5307, pp. 1739
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5307.1739

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The great flu pandemic of 1918 rates as one of history's greatest killers, causing as many as 40 million deaths worldwide. Now for the first time, researchers have gotten a look at some of the genes from the virus at fault. In work described on page 1793, they have used polymerase chain reaction techniques to amplify and sequence segments of five viral genes obtained from the preserved lung tissues of a U.S. Army private who died in the epidemic.