In 1889, a mysterious respiratory sickness emerged in Russia after which unfold throughout the globe, triggering at the least three waves of an infection over the course of a number of years. Now, some scientists suspect that this sickness, dubbed the “Russian flu,” really could have been brought on by a pandemic coronavirus much like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, The New York Instances reported.
There are some simply drawn parallels between the 2 pandemics. As an illustration, throughout the Russian flu pandemic, colleges and workplaces closed because of the sheer variety of folks contaminated. These contaminated typically misplaced their senses of style and odor, and a few endured long-lasting signs that lingered for months. On the whole, the Russian flu appeared to kill much more aged folks than kids, not like influenza viruses, which are typically equally deadly to each age teams, based on the obtainable historic data, which embrace authorities well being data, newspapers and journal articles.
Whereas these options of the Russian flu pandemic eerily resemble these of the present pandemic, the concept that the Russian flu might need been brought on by a coronavirus stays speculative, Peter Palese, a flu researcher and professor of medication on the Icahn College of Medication at Mount Sinai in New York, instructed The New York Instances. Some specialists echoed this sentiment, however others mentioned they believe that though there could also be onerous proof to assist the concept, it simply hasn’t been discovered but.
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Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, chief of the viral pathogenesis and evolution part on the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, and John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology at Queen Mary, College of London, are on the hunt for such proof. They have been digging by preserved lung tissue samples that predate the 1918 flu pandemic, in search of remnants of influenza viruses and coronaviruses. Amongst these tissues, they hope to identify the elusive Russian flu virus.
Dr. Scott Podolsky, a professor of worldwide well being and social medication at Harvard Medical College, and Dominic W. Corridor, the curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard, are additionally in search of preserved lung tissue from the identical time interval, the Instances reported.
If genetic materials from the Russian flu virus turns up in these lungs, it could provide hints as to how the pandemic ended, as information protection from the time gives little perception. And if the late-Nineteenth-century pandemic was brought on by a coronavirus, some scientists suppose that the bug should still be circulating as one of many 4 coronaviruses that trigger the widespread chilly, reasonably than extreme illness.
Learn extra concerning the thriller of the Russian flu in The New York Instances.
Initially revealed on Dwell Science.