A new study from Pitt says its possible that humans release past strains on themselves during research of the H1N1 virus. A type of swine flu from 1950 remerged in 1977, when scientists were doing increased research on the virus after a 1976 outbreak at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
Lead author Shanta Zimmer says H1N1 has been harassing humans in various forms for over 90 years. "We've actually been dealing with a virus that has similarities to 1918's through our regular seasonal influenza, because our regular seasonal influenza that we see annually called H1N1 also has some genetic similarity to that original sequence," says Zimmer.
Zimmer says there is usually a link between past and future virus strains, and therefore similarities in research and treatment. She says we need to pay attention to a virus's history when confronting it now. Zimmer says despite the case of 1977, there are no problems with the way viruses are stored or researched now.