Today a fascinating 11-page historical review of Influenza outbreaks amongst a variety of hosts (human, avian, equine, porcine, canine, etc.) going back more than 3,000 years.
Jeffrey K. Taubenberger and David Morens are, of course, familiar names to followers of influenza and virology.
Both are researchers at NIAID. Taubenberger, quite famously, was the first to sequence the the genome of the 1918 Spanish Flu virus while David Morens is a prominent medical historian and professor.
Both are extensively published, and have collaborated often in the past.
Today’s offering, which appears in the journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses is called:
Morens and Taubenberger. (2010) Historical thoughts on influenza viral ecosystems, or behold a pale horse, dead dogs, failing fowl, and sick swine. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
Article first published online: 4 AUG 2010
While parts of this article may be tough sledding for those without a background in virology, most of it historical in nature, and easily accessible.
The bottom line (but read the whole thing), as offered by the authors, is:
The historical literature on influenza, though frustrating in its general lack of corroboration by modern scientific methods, suggests that IAV may be more evolutionarily flexible than we have realized.
It would not be surprising if additional secondary reservoir hosts were involved in viral maintenance, evolution, and transmission. Influenza history suggests that there is still much to learn, and many surprises probably still await us.
Easily the most intriguing flu-read of the day.