A shot-in-the-dark email leads to a century-old family treasure — and hope of cracking a deadly flu
The pandemic occurred before the age of molecular virology. Back then it wasn’t even known what caused influenza; influenza viruses were first detected in 1930. In the decades that followed, though, it was recognized that the pandemic was caused by an influenza A virus of the H1N1 subtype. In the late 1990s, U.S. army scientists found and deciphered the virus’s genetic code.