Was the mysterious ‘Russian flu’ really a coronavirus? Some scientists assume so.

In 1889, a mysterious respiratory sickness emerged in Russia after which unfold throughout the globe, triggering at the very 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 Times reported.

There are some simply drawn parallels between the 2 pandemics. As an example, through the Russian flu pandemic, colleges and workplaces closed as a result of sheer variety of individuals contaminated. These contaminated usually misplaced their senses of style and scent, and a few endured long-lasting signs that lingered for months. On the whole, the Russian flu appeared to kill way more aged individuals than youngsters, in contrast to influenza viruses, which are typically equally deadly to each age teams, in accordance with the out there 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 may 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, advised The New York Instances. Some consultants echoed this sentiment, however others mentioned they think that though there could also be onerous proof to assist the concept, it simply hasn’t been discovered but.

Associated: 14 coronavirus myths busted by science 

Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, chief of the viral pathogenesis and evolution part on the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses, 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 way of preserved lung tissue samples that predate the 1918 flu pandemic, on the lookout for 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 drugs at Harvard Medical College, and Dominic W. Corridor, the curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard, are additionally on the lookout for 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 might 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 assume that the bug should still be circulating as one of many 4 coronaviruses that trigger the widespread chilly, somewhat than extreme illness. 

Learn extra in regards to the thriller of the Russian flu in The New York Times

Initially revealed on Reside Science.


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