Bird origin for 1918 flu pandemic

Nature

Model also links avian influenza strains to deadly horse flu.

The virus that caused the 1918 influenza pandemic probably sprang from North American domestic and wild birds, not from the mixing of human and swine viruses. A study published today in Nature reconstructs the origins of influenza A virus and … Read the rest

HIV infected T cell

A brief history of what made biomedical news this year

Nature Medicine

Biomedical research in 2013 saw some dramatic developments, with unprecedented government action in the US ranging from the budget sequester in the spring to a dramatic government shutdown in autumn. But throughout the year, bright spots in science around the globe continued to dazzle, including multimillion-dollar partnerships to advance drug discovery and the go-ahead for highly anticipated trials of regenerative medicine.

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A universal problem

Recent headlines have promised that a ‘universal flu vaccine’ may be within reach, pointing to antibodies that offer broad protection in animal studies. But the scientists behind this effort had to first overcome great skepticism from their peers—as well as an imperfect laboratory test. Hannah Hoag reports on one virologist’s 20-year effort to challenge the tenets of the field.

Influenza is the Lady Gaga of viruses: it reinvents itself each … Read the rest