Better Ways to Fight the Flu
On another front, researchers are working to reverse-engineer the 1918 pandemic flu strain that infected half the world's population and killed between 20 and 50 million people. By doing this, scientists can learn how flu viruses mutate and spread from species to species. Scientists believe that the 1918 flu was a variant of an avian flu that normally affects birds but not humans. Another odd thing about the strain was that it hit healthy young people the hardest, sparing the elderly and very young, who are more typical flu victims.
This type of research will help scientists better understand how flus mutate and spread, to develop more effective vaccines, and to prevent another global epidemic on the scale of 1918. But the best vaccine in the world won't help a soul if the system can't get it to the people who need it.