Submitted to: International Conference on Negative Strand Viruses
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/19/2003
Publication Date: 3/19/2003
Citation: Tumpey, T., Basler, C.F., Kash, J.C., Carter, V., Swayne, D.E., Taubenberger, J.K., Palese, P., Katze, M.G., Garcia-Sastre, A. 2003. Towards Understanding The High Lethality Associated With The 1918 Influenza Virus Pandemic.International Conference on Negative Strand Viruses, CD-Rom.
Technical Abstract: The 1918-1919 influenza virus pandemic is estimated to have caused about 500,000 deaths in the United States and 40 million worldwide. Not only was this influenza A virus strain unique with respect to its high morbidity in humans, but also in the fact that it struck down a disproportionately large number of healthy adults. The causes of the virus' unique properties remain unknown. Determination of viral sequences from formalin-fixed or frozen tissue samples from 1918 and the use of reverse genetics techniques make it possible to investigate the molecular signatures of the 1918 virus that were associated with its virulence. This information is critical if we were to be able to identify and tackle influenza viruses with 1918-like characteristics that may emerge in the future. With this purpose we have generated recombinant influenza A viruses bearing the NS, HA, NA or M genes from the 1918 virus under high containment BSL3 (Ag) conditions. We are currently investigating the phenotype of these recombinant viruses in mice and tissue culture.