1918 influenza pandemic

In this focus:

Current research | Archive

In 1918, a highly virulent form of the influenza virus killed at least 20 million people worldwide. Understanding the origin of the virus that caused this pandemic has been a long-standing goal because of the risk that a similar virus could arise and devastate human populations today.

In this web focus, Nature presents the latest research from the completed genomic sequence of the 1918 flu virus alongside archive papers that have examined the containment, transmission and virulence of the influenza viruses. Produced with support from Retroscreen Virology Ltd, Queen Mary�s School of Medicine. As always, Nature carries sole responsibility for all editorial content. Image: National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. (Reeve 14682).


Current research


Aberrant innate immune response in lethal infection of macaques with the 1918 influenza virus

Darwyn Kobasa et al.

Nature 445, 319–323 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05495a


Influenza: Fatal immunity and the 1918 virus

Yueh-Ming Loo and Michael Gale, Jr et al.

Nature 445, 267–268 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445267a


Concern as revived 1918 flu virus kills monkeys

Kerri Smith

Nature 445, 237 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445237a


Genomic analysis of increased host immune and cell death responses induced by 1918 influenza virus

John C. Kash et al.

Nature advance online publication 27 September 2006 | doi:10.1038/nature05181


The 1918 flu virus is resurrected

Special Report

Nature 437, 794–795 (05 October 2005) doi:10.1038/437794a


Characterization of the 1918 influenza virus polymerase genes

Jeffrey K. Taubenberger et al.

Nature 437, 889–893 (05 October 2005) doi:10.1038/nature04230


Large-scale sequencing of human influenza reveals the dynamic nature of viral genome evolution

Elodie Ghedin et al.

Nature AOP, (5 October 2005) doi:10.1038/nature04239




Mice unlock mystery of Spanish flu

Michael Hopkin

news@nature.com (06 October 2004) doi:10.1038/041010-12

Deadly flu evades body's defences

John Whitfield

news@nature.com (26 August 2002) doi:10.1038/news020819-14


Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It by Gina Kolata

Nicholas P. Restifo

Nature Medicine 6, 12 - 13 (2000) doi:10.1038/71463

Flu times two by Pete Davies

Brian W.J. Mahy

Nature Genetics 24, 111 (2000) doi:10.1038/72757

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the 1918 Pandemic by John M. Barry

Reviewed by John Oxford

Nature 429, 345-346 (27 May 2004) doi:10.1038/429345a


The makings of a killer

Peter Palese, Christopher F. Basler and Adolfo García-Sastre

Nature Medicine 8, 927 - 928 (2002) doi:10.1038/nm0902-927

The 1918 'Spanish' flu: pearls from swine?

Kennedy F. Shortridge

Nature Medicine 5, 384-385 (1999) doi:10.1038/7383

The Holy Grail of influenza virologists

John S. Oxford and Rod S. Daniels

Nature Medicine 5, 484-485 (1999) doi:10.1038/8364

New clues to the emergence of flu pandemics

Eric C.J. Claas and Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus

Nature Medicine 4, 1122-1123 (1998) doi:10.1038/2617


Avian flu: H5N1 virus outbreak in migratory waterfowl

H. Chen et al

Nature 436, 191-192 (July 14 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03974


Strategies for containing an emerging influenza pandemic in Southeast Asia.

Neil M. Ferguson et al

Nature 437, 209-214 (2005) doi:10.1038/nature04017

Lethal H5N1 influenza viruses escape host anti-viral cytokine responses

Sang Heui Seo, Erich Hoffmann and Robert G. Webster

Nature Medicine 8, 950-954 (2002) doi:10.1038/nm757


Transmissibility of 1918 pandemic influenza

Christina E. Mills, James M. Robins and Marc Lipsitch

Nature 16, 904-906 (December 16 2004) doi:10.1038/nature03063

Enhanced virulence of influenza A viruses with the haemagglutinin of the 1918 pandemic virus

Darwyn Kobasa et al.

Nature 431, 703-707 (October 7 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02951