Flu may be a descendant of the “Spanish flu” that killed millions of people

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists suggest that the familiar seasonal flu may actually be a descendant of a very dangerous disease – the Spanish flu, which raged in 1918.

Similar conclusions were made after samples collected in Europe during the pandemic were analyzed. It is worth noting that it is the “Spanish flu” that is considered today the most terrible epidemic of the last century. It caused the death of 50-100 million people.

First, the researchers noticed strange mutations in the structure of the H1N1 virus (as swine flu is designated). Further studies showed that it was with their help that the virus was most likely able to adapt to the human body.

After that, a team of scientists from several different universities felt that it was worthwhile to understand in more detail where exactly the H1N1 virus came from.

Sebastien Calvinac-Spencer, together with his colleagues, analyzed 13 lung samples from different people, which for many years were in the archives of museums in Austria and Germany.

These samples were collected for 30 years, in 1901-1931. These included those samples that were collected in 1918 and 1919.

The detected differences of a genetic nature, which were identified between the studied samples, fully correspond to the “map” of the spread of a dangerous virus.

Further, the study involved comparing the genome of the virus with each other before the start of the pandemic and after its peak.

As a result of this, obvious changes were established in one specific gene, with the help of which the virus adapted to the human body.

Additionally, it was possible to establish the exact period of the evolution of the virus. This was proof that the seasonal H1N1 flu is a distant relative of the pandemic strain that spread in 1918.

Sebastien Calvinac-Spencer spoke about the use of special static models during the study. They showed that the seasonal influenza virus continued to spread among people even after the 1918 pandemic had ended.

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