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By Anne Underwood
Updated: 6:06 p.m. ET Oct. 7, 2005

Oct. 7, 2005 - Scientists have long puzzled over the exceptional lethality of the 1918 flu, which killed between 20 million and 50 million people worldwide. What features of the viral genome enabled it to become both highly transmissible and lethal at the same time? Some of those questions were answered this week, with the publication of twin papers in the journals Nature and Science. In Nature, Jeffery Taubenberger of the Pentagon's Armed Forces Institute of Pathology announced that he had completed sequencing the genome of the 1918 flu. At the same time, Terrence Tumpey, senior microbiologist at the Influenza Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported in Science that he and his colleagues had used Taubenberger’s sequence to reconstruct the actual 1918 virus, a living copy of the germ that killed millions.

Fears that it could escape into the environment or be appropriated by bioterrorists made it a controversial move. But Tumpey says the risk was worth the trade off because of the information we stand to learn from the virus. What was particularly chilling about the last killer flu was that it appeared to come, with only minimal changes, from an avian virus--bringing a new urgency to the current flu sweeping Southeast Asia. Tumpey spoke with NEWSWEEK's Anne Underwood about his findings. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: What is the significance of these twin papers?
Terrence Tumpey: For the first time we have a truly avian pandemic influenza virus that we can study. Not only did we want to rescue the virus, but also characterize some of the important viral proteins that made it so exceptionally virulent.

And we know for sure now that this was a purely avian virus, not a hybrid. Was it really changes of just 25-30 amino acids out of 4,400 in the viral RNA that transformed the virus into a killer?
That’s Jeff Taubenberger’s work, but it appears that way. The dogma until [the current bird flu struck in] 1997 was that pandemics were caused by shuffling of genes between avian and mammalian viruses. But both the current bird flu outbreak and the 1918 virus appear not to be a human/avian reassortant virus, but an avian virus that made minimal changes to infect humans directly. 
Thankfully, bird flu virus hasn’t figured out how to spread yet. The 1918 virus did.

Does this confirm our worst fears about current bird flu?
It’s hard to know whether or not the current flu will emerge into the human population and spread efficiently. But it’s a good guess that with enough time, it will figure out how to transmit human to human. If so, it will fit the three criteria of a pandemic: a novel subtype, a subtype to which the population has no immunity and high transmissibility.

Why was it important to create a living virus from the sequence?
There is little information in the sequence itself that tells us why it would be so deadly. We see from the sequence that it is avianlike, but there are not any obvious molecular smoking-gun features that we can point to and say, "That is the reason why it killed so many people."
Reconstructing the virus helps us do that and identify targets for vaccines and antiviral drugs. The knowledge we’re gaining to protect public health far outweighs the hypothetical risk of working with this strain or providing the information to the public......

E. McBean (Vaccination The Silent Killer p28)

Very few people realize that the worst epidemic ever to hit America, the

Spanish Influenza of 1918 was the after effect of the massive nation-wide
vaccine campaign. The doctors told the people that the disease was caused
by germs. Viruses were not known at that time or they would have been
blamed. Germs. bacteria and viruses, along with bacilli and a few other
invisible organisms are the scapegoats which the doctors like to blame for
the things they do not understand. If the doctor makes a wrong diagnosis
and treatment, and kills the patient, he can always blame it on the germs,
and say the patient didnt get an early diagnosis and come to him in time.

If we check back in history to that 1918 flu period, we will see that it
suddenly struck just after the end of World War I when our soldiers were
returning home from overseas. That was the first war in which all the known
vaccines were forced on all the servicemen. This mish-mash of poison drugs
and putrid protein of which the vaccines were composed, caused such
widespread disease and death among the soldiers that it was the common talk
of the day, that more of our men were being killed by medical shots than by
enemy shots from guns. Thousands were invalided home or to military
hospitals, as hopeless wrecks, before they ever saw a day of battle. The
death and disease rate among the vaccinated soldiers was four times higher
than among the unvaccinated civilians. But this did not stop the vaccine
promoters. Vaccine has always been big business, and so it was continued

It was a shorter war than the vaccine-makers had planned on, only about a
year for us, so the vaccine promoters had a lot of unused, spoiling
vaccines left over which they wanted to sell at a good profit. So they did
what they usually do, they called a meeting behind closed doors, and
plotted the whole sordid program, a nationwide (worldwide) vaccination
drive using all their vaccines, and telling the people that the soldiers
were coming home with many dread diseases contracted in foreign countries
and that it was the patriotic duty of every man, woman and child to get
"protected" by rushing down to the vaccination centers and having all the

Most people believe their doctors and government officials, and do what
they say. The result was, that almost the entire population submitted to
the shots without question, and it was only a matter of hours until people
began dropping dead in agony, while many others collapsed with a disease of
such virulence that no one had ever seen anything like it before. They had
all the characteristics of the diseases they had been vaccinated against,
the high fever, chills, pain, cramps, diarrhea, etc. of typhoid, and the
pneumonia like lung and throat congestion of diphtheria and the vomiting,
headache, weakness and misery of hepatitis from the jungle fever shots, and
the outbreak of sores on the skin from the smallpox shots, along with
paralysis from all the shots, etc.

The doctors were baffled, and claimed they didnt know what caused the
strange and deadly disease, and they certainly had no cure. They should
have known the underlying cause was the vaccinations, because the same
thing happened to the soldiers after they had their shots at camp. The
typhoid fever shots caused a worse form of the disease which they called
para-typhoid. Then they tried to suppress the symptoms of that one with a
stronger vaccine which caused a still more serious disease which killed and
disabled a great many men. The combination of all the poison vaccines
fermenting together in the body, caused such violent reactions that they
could not cope with the situation. Disaster ran rampant in the camps. Some
of the military hospitals were filled with nothing but paralyzed soldiers,
and they were called war casualties, even before they left American soil. I
talked to some of the survivors of that vaccine onslaught when they
returned home after the war, and they told of the horrors, not of the war
itself, and battles, but of the sickness at camp.

The doctors didnt want this massive vaccine disease to reflect on them, so
they, agreed among themselves to call it Spanish Influenza. Spain was a far
away place and some of the soldiers had been there, so the idea of calling
it Spanish Influenza seemed to be a good way to lay the blame on someone
else. The Spanish resented having us name the world scourge on them. They
knew the flu didnt originate in their country.

20,000,000 died of that flu epidemic, worldwide, and it seemed to be almost
universal or as far away as the vaccinations reached. Greece and a few
other countries which did not accept the vaccines were the only ones which
were not hit by the flu. Doesnt that prove something?

At home (in the U.S.) the situation was the same; the only ones who escaped
the influenza were those who had refused the vaccinations. My family and 1
were among the few who persisted in refusing the high pressure sales
propaganda ,and none of us had the flu not even a sniffle, in spite of
the fact that it was all around us, and in the bitter cold of winter.
Everyone seemed to have it. The whole town was down sick and dying. The
hospitals were closed because the doctors and nurses were down with the
flu. Everything was closed, schools, businesses, post office everything.
No one was on the streets. It was like a ghost town. There were no doctors
to care for the sick, so my parents went from house to house doing what
they could to help the stricken in any way they could. They spent all day
and part of the night for weeks, in the sick rooms, and came home only to
eat and sleep. If germs or viruses, bacteria, or any other little organisms
were the cause of that disease, they had plenty of opportunity to latch
onto my parents and "lay them low" with the disease which had prostrated
the world. But germs were not the cause of that or any other disease, so
they didnt "catch" it. I have talked to a few other people since that
time, who said they escaped the 1918 flu, so I asked if they had the shots,
and in every case, they said they had never believed in shots and had never
had any of them. Common sense tells us that all those toxic vaccines all
mixed up together in people, could not help but cause extreme
body-poisoning and poisoning of some kind or another is usually the
cause of disease.

Whenever a person coughs or sneezes, most people cringe, thinking that the
germs are being spread around in the au and will attack people. There is no
need to fear those germs any more, because that is not the way colds are
developed. Germs cant live apart from the cells (host) and cant do harm
anyway, even if they wanted to. They have no teeth to bite anyone, no
poison pouches like snakes, mosquitoes or bees, and do not multiply, except
in decomposed substances, so they are helpless to harm. As stated before,
their purpose is useful, not destructive.

The 1918 flu was the most devastating disease we ever had, and it brought
forth all the medical bag of tricks to quell it, but those added drugs, all
of which are poisons, only intensified the over-poisoned condition of the
people, so the treatments actually killed more than the vaccines did.