In 2009, swine flu created a minor pandemic, only killing about 15,000 people but infecting millions more. The avian flu H9N2 is ravaging bird populations throughout Asia. They're bad enough on their own...but what if they joined forces?
The swine flu pandemic of 2009 was one of the worst flu scares in recent memory, even if its actual effects ended up being relatively moderate. Now something unambiguously good could come of all this: a universal flu vaccine.
To be more specific, people's immune response killed them. The virus was especially deadly to young and middle-aged adults because their immune systems were primed to kick into a fatal, antiviral overdrive.
Two mutations in the H1N1 avian flu virus were responsible for killing 50 million people all over the world during the 1918 outbreak of so-called Spanish Flu. Now researchers at MIT have analyzed 90-year-old blood samples from people who survived the flu, and the blood still contains antibodies that react to H1N1… Read…