We could live with the COVID-19 threat like during the Spanish flu


Maintaining the proportions linked to the particularities between the two pathogens – the H1N1 influenza virus and the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 – the historian’s conclusions show that, overall, the mortality caused by the Spanish flu has disappeared with the widespread spread of the disease, but humans had to continue to live with the new threat. The author of the book “The Great Flu” suggests the same could happen with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

The mutations undergone by the 1918 flu virus spread had two consequences. On the one hand, repeated changes at the micro-molecular level prevented scientists from creating a vaccine against the Spanish flu, and on the other hand, these mutations led to a significant decrease in the number of deaths.

Mortality, inversely proportional to the spread of H1N1

In other words, in 1920, with the spread of H1N1, two years after the first diseases, the mortality rate of the infected was lower. A study cited in John M. Barry’s article shows that the virus’s “interest” was to infect as many hosts as possible, not to kill them before they spread.

American physician William Henry Welch – the first dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in the United States – noted that it was “humiliating” for researchers at a time when H1N1 was losing its virulence before letting the the medical world fully understood how it spreads. to find a remedy. effective.

What William Henry Welch failed to discover in the 1920s was that the Spanish flu virus would not go away completely.

Dr. Fauci, in 2009: “We live in the pandemic era of the Spanish flu”

The chief epidemiologist of the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, published in 2009 an article with two researchers specializing in the spread of flu viruses in which they showed that the viral strain responsible for the spread of the Spanish flu in 1918 had created a “pandemic era. “. in the last century.

At the time of publication, the H1N1 virus was in its fourth “generation” of mutations in the strain responsible for the Spanish flu pandemic. “All the pandemics that have occurred since then – in 1957 (not H2N2, Asian flu), 1968 (non-H3N2) and 2009 (non-HHNN1 or swine flu) were caused by viruses derived from the person responsible The flu virus that people get every year may be directly linked to the Spanish flu virus, “researcher Jeffery Taubenberger told The Washington Post.

Therefore, experts say that many of the measures taken by health authorities a century ago are similar to those that exist today.

As now, after the outbreak of the 1918 pandemic, measures were taken to “flatten the curve” of infections: the use of masks became mandatory, many cities went into isolation and some activities were carried out. has been suspended, says researcher Jeremy Greene. majoring in medical history from Johns Hopkins University. Obviously, the main factor in the spread of the Spanish flu virus – the mobilization of troops during the First World War – could not be avoided.

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