University of Arizona researcher Michael Worobey and his team have discovered that the key to understanding influenza pandemics may lie in flu exposure during childhood.
Just as the world was recovering from the devastation of World War I, another killer swept across the globe. A deadly flu virus attacked more than one-third of the world's population, and within months had killed more than 50 million people – three times as many as the war – and had done it more quickly than any other illness in recorded history.
Until now, the origin of the 1918 pandemic flu virus and its unusual severity have vexed health experts. A new study led by Michael Worobey, professor in the University of Arizona Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, within of the College of Science, not only sheds light on the devastating 1918 pandemic, but could also improve vaccination strategies, and pandemic prevention and preparedness.
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