The recent recreation of the 1918 Spanish influenza virus offers important lessons on the development of diseases and the nature of current flu threats, according to a set of classroom materials posted by the National Public Radio program Science Friday.
Last fall, scientists reconstructed the genetic sequencing of the 1918 flu virus, which is estimated to have killed as many as 50 million people worldwide, and found that the strain bore striking similarities to the Avian flu virus now emerging in Southeast Asia and parts of Europe.
Science Friday, a weekly news and education show, has broadcast an expert panel discussion exploring the details of the discovery, the mutation patterns of influenza viruses, the possibility of a new flu pandemic, and the implications for vaccine design.
Apart from the audio broadcast—presented as an mp3 podcast, as well as in other formats—Science Friday provides a number of supporting classroom materials on the topic, including discussion questions, links to background articles and lesson plans, and a set of relevant academic content standards for grades 6-8.
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