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In 1918-1919, the so-called Spanish flu killed some 50 million people -- including 675,000 Americans. Most of the victims were healthy people in the prime of life.
The 1918 flu, analysis shows, is a bird flu that learned how to spread among humans. Genetic analysis shows that the deadly H5N1 bird flu now circulating in Asia seems to be learning the same thing.
How long does this process take? Nobody knows. Taubenberger says the 1918 bird virus appeared in humans "a couple of years" before 1918. But how long it took the virus to jump species from birds to humans is unknown.
What's to stop them from splicing the old flu with the new flu and unleashing it on the public?