An international team of researchers has shown that circulating avian influenza viruses contain all the genetic ingredients necessary to underpin the emergence of a virus similar to the deadly 1918 influenza virus.

Searching public databases, the researchers, led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, identified eight genes from influenza viruses isolated from wild ducks that possessed remarkable genetic similarities to the genes that made up the 1918 pandemic flu virus.

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