On November 30, 2018, Cambridge University shared what they knew about the 1918 Flu Pandemic and what they have learned from it 100 years later.
Now, scientists estimate that 50 – 100 million people died around the world.
They died for two basic reasons: either from the initial flu infection or from the body’s strong response to the infection resulting in the lungs being “flooded.”
Roughly from April – May 1918, the virus was sweeping through the U.S., Europe, and the WWI trenches.
The virus killed more people in 25 weeks that the HIV/AIDS virus did in 25 years.
At the time, people in the age group 20 – 40 years were those succumbing to the flu. As of 2018, scientists were still trying to determine why.
Supposedly it started as a bird flu and also in pigs and adapted to be a virus in humans which was then transmitted from human to human.
As people celebrated Armistice Day, November 1918, rather than dying down, a second even more deadly virulent strain erupted affecting a quarter to a third of the world’s population. But by 1920-21 it had become gradually much weaker.
Researchers at Cambridge explain how they study the evolution of pandemic flus, trying to anticipate the variants there might be, in order to develop vaccines. They estimate that some day there may be a universal vaccine, which will protect us for life. But who knows when: in 10, 20, 30 or 40 years?
You can watch Cambridge’s video here which also includes graphic photos from 1918-1920.