“In a surprise announcement, scientists in the US say they have recreated the influenza virus that killed at least 50 million people in 1918, and they have infected mice with it.
“They say the need to understand how flu viruses cause lethal pandemics outweighs any safety risks. But the risks may not be negligible.
“By painstakingly piecing together viral fragments from hospital specimens and a victim buried in Alaskan permafrost, Jeff Taubenberger and colleagues at the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, Maryland, have now sequenced all eight coding regions of the 1918 flu virusâ€™s genome. They published the last three – coding for the polymerase complex that allows the virus to replicate – on Wednesday”.