A blog dedicated to investigating events as they occur in Judea and Samaria, in Israel and in the world, and as they relate to global powers and/or to the Israeli government, public figures, etc. It is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind the headlines; and in so doing, it strives to do its part in saving Judea and Samaria, and by extension, Israel and the Jewish People, from utter destruction at the hands of its many external and internal enemies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FLU VACCINE: Dr. Ott's understanding of "novel H1N1" virus; one aspect of the story. Disregard his anti-semitism for now!

Startling New Evidence That The ‘Swine Flu’ Pandemic Is Man-Made!

* Draw your own conclusions! Dr A. True Ott writes :

The Primary Motive behind this alleged criminal activity is also the primary cause of most murders in the world today, and that motivation is simply: BIG MONEY. Billions of Dollars of windfall profits from government contracts worldwide, as a matter of fact.

I will provide evidence that will show that Novartis Pharmaceuticals of Basel, Switzerland has conspired with corrupt “scientists” at the U.S. Army Institute of Pathology ­ Ft. Detrick, Maryland, to create a “novel” strain of weaponized “influenza” virus by means of “reverse engineering” the deadly 1918 killer strain ­ which strain was maliciously and surreptitiously released upon the world in March and April of 2009 for the primary purpose of creating a panic-stricken world-wide demand for Novartis vaccine material.

The evidence will also clearly show that the Novartis vaccine material is in reality designed to facilitate the further mutation of the pandemic into more lethal waves of increasingly virulent and deadly disease, rather than to curtail and limit the existing outbreak. The evidence will show that Novartis is willingly being used, (and extremely well-paid) to facilitate the edicts of the global elite’s Club of Rome; which edicts clearly call for a massive and sudden depopulation of certain segments of the earth’s human population.

To realize such windfall profits on an engineered, global flu pandemic, detailed covert planning must take place of course. Patents protecting the proprietary flu vaccine must be applied for and secured before the pandemic virus is released in order to minimize the competition and maximize the profit potentials. In a biological attack of this nature, timing is extremely critical.

Indeed, the evidence is clear ­ Novartis applied for just such a patent on Nov. 4, 2005, and the U.S. Patent Office accepted this application and granted US 20090047353A1 for a “Split Influenza Vaccine with Adjuvants” on February 19, 2009. …..

With this patent now secured, the conspirators were now free to create the demand for their “novel” split influenza vaccine by releasing a “novel” split-influenza (combining multiple viruses) pandemic virus from a weapons lab test-tube into unsuspecting human hosts.

The so-called “Swine Flu” grabbing headlines today is actually a recombinant, or “split-influenza” virus consisting of A-strain Bird-Flu (H5N1), Swine Flu (H1N1) and multiple strains of human flu (H3N2). Likewise, the 1918 Killer Flu that killed untold millions of people was a recombinant or “split-influenza” virus composed of Bird flu, Swine Flu, and multiple strains of human flu.

The criminal timeline begins in 1997, when Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger assembled a team of geneticists and microbiologists to analyze the genome structure, and then to REPRODUCE (i.e. reverse engineer) what is arguably one of the most deadly viral structures the world has ever been cursed with ­ the 1918 killer flu virus. According to numerous published stories and reports, Taubenberger and his team utilized super-computers to map the complex RNA and DNA structures of the killer virus, then utilized human plasmids to successfully re-create the 1918 killer. Taubenberger completed his work in early 2005, then immediately left the employ of the U.S. Army at Ft. Detrick to take a much more lucrative position with the National Institutes of Health. His new focus was to create a VACCINE against the very same 1918 killer flu that he and his team had, just months earlier, successfully “reverse engineered” and created.

This researcher is very confident that a focused criminal investigation would likely reveal prima facia evidence that Taubenberger was in reality working for Novartis while employed with the N.I.H. ­ and was quite likely the primary author of Novartis’ Nov. 6, 2005 “provisional” patent application. On page 2, paragraph 32 of the patent publication we read, quote: “The influenza virus [that the 'invention vaccine' is designed to protect against] may be a reassortant strain, and may have been obtained by reverse genetics techniques. Reverse genetics techniques allow influenza viruses with desired genome segments to be prepared in vitro using plasmids.” The remnant of the paragraph then goes into very specific detail as to the actual mechanics of how the pandemic virus was actually created by Taubenberger’s Ft. Detrick team. At the very least, the author of the patent application had to have studied Taubenberger’s various published reports on his work at Detrick, for the wording and science is virtually verbatim.

Furthermore, this paragraph is even more damning by the words “may have been obtained”. Who “obtained” this virus and for what reason was it “obtained”? Keep in mind the CDC and HHS would have Americans believe that the pandemic viral outbreak is totally a “natural” occurrence ­ if so then how could Novartis have such an incredible advance knowledge to the point of developing a vaccine with such absolutely PERFECT TIMING???

Novartis International AG is simply the world’s largest, multi-national pharmaceutical company with over $53 Billion USD revenue generated in 2008. It’s headquarters is located in Basel, Switzerland, home of the vaunted “Swiss Guards” who provide all security measures for the Vatican and the Club of Rome. The company logo symbolizes the “eternal flame” of the Illuminati “enlightened ones”. Dig into Novartis International AG’s long history, and one finds that it began as a component of the infamous I.G. Farben combine, which in turn was primarily responsible for the rise of Adolph Hitler and the German/Austrian Third Reich.

Dig a bit deeper and you find that Novartis also wholly owns a company called Sandoz ­ which was the inventor of LSD and other strong hallucinogenic “truth” drugs, and was the supplier of LSD to the CIA allowing them to scale new heights with their covert “MK ULTRA” mind control experiments. Documents released to U.S. Congressional investigators in 1977 show that Sandoz Labs had arranged for certain Nazi scientists to gain new identities in Allen Dulles’ CIA at the conclusion of WWII. This was accomplished under a secret extraction program called “Operation Paper Clip”.

The address listed on the Novartis Patent applications is a P.O. Box in Emeryville, California. Up until the summer of 2005, this Emeryville California address belonged to Chiron Inc. ­ the world’s second-largest INFLUENZA VACCINE MANUFACTURER. Chiron was doing very well, with reported sales of $357 million in fiscal 2002. Chiron’s sales nearly doubled, peaking at a whopping $678 million in 2003 ­ and it was mostly due to the marketing and sale of FLU VACCINE CONTRACTS to the federal government. Novartis, which owned much of Chiron’s stock, was very pleased, until disaster struck in 2004 — the entire year’s stock of flu vaccine was found to be contaminated and was condemned.

Stock values plummeted on the news. With the stock at a historic low, Novartis quickly purchased the remainder of Chiron’s stock and began immediately to work on the massive “novel pandemic flu” vaccine that they somehow knew would soon have worldwide demand ­ especially if they controlled the exclusive patent they could effectively “corner the pandemic flu vaccine market”!!

I would submit that killing tens of thousands of innocent humans via the systemic creation of a “pandemic” in order to make billions of dollars is vile enough, but there is also evidence that there is an even more heinous hidden agenda at work here, and it is spelled GENOCIDE.

It is no mystery that Adolph Hitler advocated the elevation of a Nordic “Master Race” that would rule the world in a “New Order of the Ages” called the “Third Reich”. Sadly, not all of the EUGENIC/GENOCIDAL National Socialists were executed at Nuremburg.

In reality, the elite financiers that actually dictated the agenda to Hitler, merely went underground, willing to bide their time until their godless agenda to liquidate BILLIONS of people could be successfully implemented.

The evidence that the Novartis-controlled “Pandemic Vaccine” may well be a tool of mass genocide, is actually quite overwhelming. At this point, some readers may scoff and ask: “Why would any company want to kill off their customers?” The answer is that these “customers” control large blocks of assets and equity. As Kissinger’s “NSSM-200″ report outlines, the “spoils” of genocide include controlling large tracts of land and mineral assets. This is secondary, of course, to their warped dream of creating a Utopian World Order with only 500 million “worthy” humans allowed to share in it.

While George H.W. Bush was busy saving the world from the evil dictator Saddam Hussein in 1991, pursuant to his U.N. speech to create a “new world order” an agenda for an “Initiative for Eco-92 Earth Charter” elitist meeting happened to fall into honest, Christian hands. This agenda basically reiterated the genocide outlined in Henry Kissinger’s infamous NSSM-200 report of 1974, and called for “the immediate reduction of world population.” The entire report can be downloaded at:

My extensive research shows that by 1992, the massive death rate of AIDS had simply not materialized to the Elite’s satisfaction, and a more efficient mass killer had to be engineered in order to fulfill the edicts cut into the “Georgia Guidestones”. Evidence shows that like the 2009 “Novel” Flu Virus the HIV virus was also engineered and manufactured in the labs of Ft. Detrick.

In 1969, during a House Appropriations Committee hearing, the Defense Department’s Biological Warfare (BW) division at Ft. Detrick requested funds to develop, through complex gene-splicing (i.e. genetic engineering) a “novel” new disease that would both be resistant to, and break down a victim’s immune system. The Congressional Record reads:

“Within the next 5 to 10 years it would probably be possible to make a new infective micro-organism which could differ in certain important respects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious diseases.”

The funds for this “Dr. Strangelove” project were somehow approved. AIDS “magically” appeared within the requested time frame, and of course, just happens to exhibit the exact characteristics specified by the Ft. Detrick scientists.

Three years later, in 1972, the fledgling World Health Organization (WHO) published a very similar proposal to the one submitted to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee in 1969. The WHO proposed that: “An attempt should be made to ascertain whether viruses can in fact exert selective effects on immune function, e.g., by …affecting T cell function as opposed to B cell function. The possibility should also be looked into that the immune response to the virus itself may be impaired if the infecting virus damages more or less selectively the immune cells responding to the viral antigens.” (Bulletin of the W.H.O., vol. 47, p 257- 274.) This is a “textbook” clinical description of the function of the HIV/AIDS virus.

The W.H.O. shortly thereafter begins a massive “smallpox vaccination” program in Africa in 1975. Within two years, millions of smallpox vaccines are provided by Novartis et. al, under U.N.I.C.E.F. funding. A decade later, it is determined by independent journalists in the U.K. that the incidence of AIDS infections’ MAPPED AND GRAPHED EPICENTERS in Africa coincided exactly with the locations of the W.H.O. smallpox vaccination program centers in the mid-1970’s (Source, The London Times, May 11, 1987). Some 14,000 Haitians then on UN ‘humanitarian missions’ to Central Africa were also vaccinated in this campaign, and soon contracted HIV. Personnel actually conducting the vaccinations of the Haitians maintain they had been completely unaware that the vaccine was anything other than a routine shot.

In 1987, Dr. Hilleman, head of all vaccine production of Merck Pharmaceuticals stunned the world with his public admissions that the mass vaccination campaigns of the 1950s and ’60s likely caused thousands of cancer deaths each year. This was due to the presence of a cancer-causing virus that contaminated the first polio vaccine, according to Dr. Hilleman. Known as SV40, the virus originated from dead monkeys whose kidney cells were used to culture the first Salk vaccines. Doctors estimate that the virus was injected into tens of millions during the vaccination campaigns, including several million in Canada, before being detected and screened out in 1963. Those born between 1941 and 1961 are thought to be most at risk of having been infected with SV40, and are estimated to have a 300% greater chance of developing cancer. According to Hilleman MERCK KNEW THE VACCINES WERE INFECTED WITH SV40, but distributed them anyway. See

Furthermore, research doctors in New Orleans reported in 1963 that a percentage of the Salk polio vaccines were found to have attenuated, (live) viruses, which actually CAUSED tens of thousands of polio cases during the 1950’s.

Following the successful liberation of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, hundreds of thousands of victorious American troops are suddenly stricken with a wide variety of auto-immune disorders that doctors named the Gulf War Syndrome, (GWS). After a decade of medical investigation, the culprit is finally determined to be an ingredient in the anthrax vaccinations mandatorily given to the troops. This offending “adjuvant” is a synthetic material known as squalene ­ aka, oil-in-water adjuvant. Writer and Gulf War correspondent Gary Matsumoto documents this entire, tragic saga in his seminal book, “Vaccine-A”. See

Understanding these historical facts is very important for this reason: Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it. This is doubly true when it comes to blindly accepting a “novel” mass vaccination for a weaponized, “reverse engineered” virus.

The historical record is very clear ­ attenuated, live viruses in vaccines SPREAD the disease very effectively. When combined with SQUALENE ADJUVANT ­ the virus becomes many times more potent and lethal. When given to CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS, millions of “typhoid Matts and Marys” will be spreading the disease exponentially.

Chillingly, the Novartis patent for the “novel pandemic flu” declares that “African green monkey kidney cells” will be used for the “viral growth substrate” ­ i.e. the carrier medium. (Page 3, paragraph 0037) We also see that “oil-in-water” squalene-based adjuvants will also be included (page 8 ­ 0098) but most incredible of all, because this is a “recombinant” and “novel” split vaccine, it is deemed necessary to include fragments of attenuated viruses (i.e. live pathogens) in the vaccine medium.

On July 13, 2009, the W.H.O. sanctioned this lunacy by declaring: “In view of the anticipated limited vaccine availability at global level and the potential need to protect against “drifted” strains of virus, it is recommended that promoting production and use of vaccines such as those that are formulated with oil-in-water adjuvants and live attenuated influenza vaccines is important.”

In conclusion and summation, it should be evident that the “2009 Swine Flu” could just as easily be called the “Bird Flu” ­ because it is as much H5N1 (bird flu) as H1N1 (pig flu.) Novartis knew this in 2005 when it received hundreds of millions of dollars from Mike Leavitt’s HHS to develop and patent the “bird flu” vaccine. I publicly charge that Novartis had advance knowledge of this “combination” because they had been in consultation with Jeffrey Taubenberger for years.

It is further evident that Novartis’ patent provides for “influenza vaccine kits” to be provided to other pharmaceutical manufacturers as well. These “kits” are the basic raw ingredients needed for the other companies to build their own vaccines under their own label.

In 2005, this “jobbing” of separate ingredients by multiple companies would never have been allowed because of the legal liability issues involved. However, in 2009, all liabilities for death and disability from faulty or contaminated vaccines have been stripped away. Any wrongful death or disability lawsuits against Novartis or any other company will today be summarily dismissed.

Novartis today has carte blanche blanket immunity for their actions ­ and any large pharmaceutical company who so desires, can join them at the feeding troughs just by paying millions for their “kits”. If this isn’t the pinnacle of criminality, then I don’t know what is.

Novartis, if this “novel split vaccine” is so wonderful and safe, why do you require such blanket protection from litigation?


July 17, 2009

The Honorable Secretary Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC, 20201


Dear Secretary Sebelius:

I, your fellow American, write this letter to you in the hope that you will truthfully answer some very pointed questions concerning the escalating “Novel” H1N1 Influenza and the rush to vaccinate the American people, beginning with innocent school children.

Secretary Sebelius, did you know that a team of “viral pathologists” led by Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger at Ft. Detrick Maryland began work in 1997 to recreate the 1918 “killer virus”, and this odious task was successfully accomplished in the year 2003? Did you know that in his initial 1997 report, Taubenberger wrote:

“The "Spanish" influenza pandemic killed at least 20 million people in 1918-1919, making it the worst infectious pandemic in history. Understanding the origins of the 1918 virus and the basis for its exceptional virulence may aid in the prediction of future influenza pandemics. RNA from a victim of the 1918 pandemic was isolated from a formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, lung tissue sample. Nine fragments of viral RNA were sequenced from the coding regions of hemagglutinin, neuraminidase, nucleoprotein, matrix protein 1, and matrix protein 2. The sequences are consistent with a novel H1N1 influenza A virus that incorporate the subgroup of strains that infect humans and swine, as well as the avian subgroup.” SOURCE: Science Magazine Report, 21 March 1997, Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger et. al. See

Furthermore, when pressed by researchers as to the REASON why he would undertake such a controversial project as recreating such a deadly pathogen, Taubenberger defended his work by declaring that genetically recreating the virus in a Petri dish was necessary, as it would allow the DEVELOPMENT OF A VACCINE TO FIGHT IT! Secretary Sebelius, please understand that in 1997, this virus was as extinct as the dinosaurs. Taubenberger’s reasoning is flawed. Why genetically re-create a deadly veloceraptor dinosaur merely to create an advanced weapon to destroy it??

Secretary Sebelius, don’t you find it odd that the CDC and the WHO are telling the world today that this “pandemic virus” is “a new subtype of the A/H1N1 not previously detected in swine or humans. This novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus is a triple recombinant including gene segments of human, swine, and avian origin.” Doesn’t this sound eerily familiar to Taubenberg’s 1997 discovery??

See also:

You should also be aware that PBS television produced a remarkable documentary in 2003 titled “Killer Flu” starring Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger which was broadcast on the “Secrets of the Dead” series. Later, in 2005, PBS updated the production and aired it again, on Nov. 21 2005. I know this, because I watched it intently, and then went online with Taubenberger and Lipworth, the show’s producer, for an online question and answer session the following day – moderated by the Washington Post.

I personally asked this question of Taubenberger and Lipworth at that time: “When documenting the potential origins of the “killer 1918 flu” why have you apparently ignored the fact that Private Underwood, and all other MILITARY VICTIMS of the outbreak had been VACCINATED with a new and experimental typhus fever vaccine harvested from swine and chickens. (In fact, the film shows Private Underwood’s actual military records – and shows that he agreed to be “vaccinated and re-vaccinated”. The Brits had a choice to be vaccinated, sadly, the Yank recruits were not given the luxury of such choice.) Irrefutable documentation of the links to typhus vaccines and “para-typhus mystery pneumonia deaths” by a man named Charles Higgins in 1920 was personally presented to President Wilson in a book titled “The Horrors of Vaccination” in a scholarly plea to end “mandatory vaccination” in the U.S. military. Why, then, are vaccines not even mentioned in the documentary as a POSSIBLE causal factor for the 1918 worldwide “pandemic” that obviously originated in Army bases on both sides of the trenches?”

For some strange reason, my question was not officially posed to Taubenberger and Lipworth for public dissemination during the forum. I suspect they refused to publicly answer this question – which is in itself an answer. For the questions “officially” asked Taubenberger and Lipworth, and answered at this time, go to: Notice also the disclaimer by The Post at the end of the document concerning “moderation” of questions (i.e. censorship of certain questions).

Secretary Sebelius, given the current state of affairs, I would ask you now a very similar question. When a vaccine produced back in 1914 (well before science even knew viruses existed) by means of harvesting infected pus from open typhus sores on humans, then injected the human pus into open cuts on young swine, then harvested the multiplied postules from the swine which was then placed in chicken eggs for incubation, then placed in OIL AND WATER adjuvants, then into hypodermic needles and then into MILLIONS OF SOLDIERS veins during WWI – why wouldn’t a reasonable person (such as Charles Higgins in 1920) conclude this was the TRUE ORIGIN of the pandemic – especially when “experts” like Dr. Taubenberger declared in 1997 that the genes of the virus included swine, bird and human combinations?? (If you haven’t seen the film yet, please do so immediately.) Could it be that John D. Rockefeller made sure that his vaccines were never investigated as to culpability???

Taubenberger’s team finished their assignment, and now the genetic sequencing could be replicated in the test tube and the virus could now eclipse anthrax or e-bola as the preferred bio-weapon of choice. Secretary Sebelius, can you name even one instance when the U.S. Army ever developed a virus in Ft. Detrick’s labs for strictly scientific analysis??

One would hope that such a virus would be safely locked away, and not released on the American public. One would also hope that killer anthrax spores would also be kept secure, but that didn’t happen in October, 2001, did it?? Furthermore, according to the Washington Post, over 9,000 vials of bio-weapon matter are missing and not accounted for: One can only wonder if a mere hundred or so “1918 Killer Flu” vials didn’t somehow make it to Mexico and other areas of the world.

Secretary Sebelius, don’t you find it even slightly strange that now Dr. Taubenberger and his team are currently employed by the National Institutes of Health – where they have been consulting for Novartis and other vaccine manufacturing companies on the multi-billion dollar business of SWINE FLU PANDEMIC VACCINE PRODUCTION? See

I would hope and pray, with all due respect, that you are not a willing party to this massive conspiracy of death and destruction, Secretary Sebilius. Please, look closely at the composition of the upcoming vaccines that your office is being asked to sell to the American public. Please, I beg you, look closely at the research regarding “oil-in-water” adjuvants and what they do to the human organism.

( DS)

Please, as a mother, read Gary Matsumoto’s book, Vaccine-A as soon as possible. Call him for a consultation. He is an honest man.

Please ask yourself why attenuated (live) 1918 re-created viruses are being placed in the vaccine, when all research shows this is a recipe for massively spreading the disease instead of harnessing it. (Don’t you realize what will happen if millions of school children are vaccinated with attenuated viruses – they will be “carriers” of the live virus for at least 72 hours – likely infecting parents and siblings.)

In conclusion, Secretary Sebelius, I am fervently asking you to be a SOLUTION to this problem, instead of being an integral PART OF IT!

History will judge you by your actions the next few months. Please follow your heart and do the right thing for this country. Literally, MILLIONS of innocent lives are at stake.

A. True Ott, PhD, ND
485 W. 3925 N.
Pleasant View, Utah, 84414

'Secrets of the Dead: Killer Flu'

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger and Jared Lipworth
Chief of the Division of Molecular Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; Executive Producer
Tuesday, November 22, 2005; 12:00 PM

"Secrets of the Dead: Killer Flu" on PBS follows Jeffrey Taubenberger and his team of scientists seeking to learn where the 1918 flu virus came from and what made it so deadly. Using fragments of undamaged 1918 virus found in lung tissue of a flu victim, Taubenberger and his team set out to map the genes of the killer flu.

Since the original broadcast of this program, Taubenberger's team has created a genetic sequencing of the 1918 virus and has resurrected the virus itself to study its effects on lung tissue. This fall the team announced a striking similarity between the 1918 virus and today's H5N1 avian flu virus. Their findings indicate that the 1918 virus originated as a bird flu. The updated episode includes new material and interviews with Taubenberger that reflect these new findings. Secrets of the Dead: Killer Flu aired on PBS on Monday, Nov. 21, at 10 p.m. ET. (Check Local Listings.)

Taubenberger and executive producer Jared Lipworth were online Tuesday, Nov. 22, at noon ET to examine the 1918 flu virus and to discuss this episode of Secrets of the Dead.

Since 1994, Taubenberger has served as chief of the division of molecular pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency in pathology at the National Cancer Institute. His clinical activities involve diagnostic molecular genetics. He holds dual board certifications in anatomic pathology and molecular genetic pathology from the American Board of Pathology and the American Board of Medical Genetics.

As executive producer for science programs, Lipworth is responsible for commissioning and overseeing all science programs produced by Thirteen/WNET New York. Current projects in production or development include "War Plane," "Secrets of the Dead V," "The Human Spark," "The Mysterious Human Heart" and "Big Ideas II." Prior to becoming executive producer, he was the series producer for the department's technology series, "Innovation." In 2003, Lipworth was nominated for a writing Emmy for "Secrets of the Dead: Mystery of the Black Death."

The transcript follows.


Salt Lake City, Utah: Please address the evidence that suggests to you that the 1918 Spanish Flu was likely to have infected humans directly from the avian population, rather than involving an intermediate mammalian host. Thank you.

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: There may well have been an intermediate host involved in the formation of the 1918 pandemic, we just don't know. If there was, we don't know what species. Molecular evidence fits the historical picture that humans gave the virus to pigs, not the other way around; so it probably wasn't pigs. What we think is different about the 1918 pandemic compared to the 1957 or 1968 pandemics is that it doesn't look like a mixed or "reassorted" human-bird virus, but an entirely bird-like virus that adapted to humans.


Charleston, W.Va.: Right now the H5N1 seems particularly virulent with a mortality rate between 33-50 percent. I have seen in print articles that, based on history, the virulence decreases as the virus causes a pandemic. Is that always the case? Would the decrease be due to a genetic mutation or recombination? It is hard to sort through all of the information available. Thanks!

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: It is likely that virulence would decrease if a new virus, like H5N1 adapted to become transmissible to humans, although we cannot predict with certainty what will happen with any given pathogen. But in general, pathogens that kill a large percentage of victims quickly are thought to spread less well (for example Ebola) than those that can be spread by people who are not debilitated. These changes would undoubtedly be due to mutations in the viral genome. At this time we do not know which mutations are critical to allow an animal-adapted virus to become transmissible in humans. We know that the 1918 virus was very transmissible, and that the current H5N1 viruses are very poorly transmissible in humans. so, differences in their genomes are likely to be important in working out this process.


Jared Lipworth: Hi everyone. Thanks so much for watching last night's Secrets of the Dead program and for joining us today in the chat. And a special thanks to Dr. Taubenberger for making himself available--I can only imagine how busy his schedule is these days...


Arlington, Va.: Jared, when and why did you decide to update this film? Due to recent news/concerns expressed about the flu - or before that? Thank you.

Jared Lipworth: Really, as soon as we heard that Dr. Taubenberger had finished sequencing the 1918 genome we knew we had to update the film. When it originally aired, he was still working on it, and now we had the chance to see the sequence completed and to see firsthand what he had learned. The fact that Dr. Taubenberger could talk about the similarities and differences between the 1918 virus and today's avian strains made it even more relevant. Secrets of the Dead is always looking to make important connections between past events and our world today, so this was an excellent and important opportunity to do so.


Arlington, Va.: Dr., what did you learn overall about mutation of viruses during your research? Applying what you've learned to what's going on today, do you think the avian flu will mutate? Thank you.

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: We are trying to understand two basic things about the 1918 influenza - how did the pandemic virus form?, and why was it so virulent? Having the complete sequence is helping us to answer these questions. But even more importantly we are trying to understand the lessons of the 1918 virus to learn more general rules about how pandemics form and cause disease. for example we have found that the H5N1 viruses share some changes with 1918 that we think will be important for the virus adapting to humans. Whether the H5N1 virus will ultimately acquire the ability to become human adapted is an open question. Obviously we hope not, but we need to be vigilant about monitoring the virus for these kinds of changes.


Vienna, Va.: I wasn't surprised at the discovery that the 1918 flu virus acted by creating a cytokine storm. The very symptoms (black feet and so on) was very similar to Ebola and hantaviruses, which also kill mostly due to the immune system's own overreaction. I'm in one of the few families that have a written history of those times, so I grew up knowing about the 1918 flu. I was amazed that so many of my generation had never heard of it... at least until a few years ago when the 1918 flu became a hot topic.

That said, what is the major age group that the current H5N1 virus is infecting and killing?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: We don't really know yet what made the 1918 virus virulent. The animal models do suggest a very robust immune response which may indeed have contributed to the progression of disease. Remember however that individual responses to the identical virus can very tremendously. Even in 1918, about a third of those exposed developed no symptoms, and of those made ill, the vast majority recovered. Case mortality rate in the U.S. was around 2.5%. What we need to figure out still is whether people of the young adult age group had this unusual "over-robust" immune response or another kind of unusual immune reaction to the virus relating to their previous exposure history to flu viruses. Unfortunately we do not yet know anything about the human influenza viruses that circulated before 1918.


Ventura, Calif.: Temperature at which the virus thrives appears very important. As long as it remains high, avian, the disease appears to lodge in the lungs. Question, you envision the virus becoming more mammalian, thriving at cooler temperature, and thus lodging higher up the respiratory tract, and thusly more easily transmitted, ie, pandemic. How will this occur?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Yes, the optimal temperature for viral replication is likely to be important for switching hosts. There are several mutations in the polymerase genes (encoding the proteins that copy the viral genetic material)that might be important because they change the temperature optimum of the polymerase complex. The genetic details of what needs to take place for a bird virus to adapt to a mammalian host are just not yet clear.


Chicago, Ill.: When do you think we will have a vaccination for H5N1?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Scientists at NIH have made an H5N1 vaccine and it has already gone through several rounds of testing. The problem with making vaccines for influenza is that the virus mutates very rapidly. so, one cannot predict the exact form a future pandemic virus will take until that particular strain emerges. What scientists hope to do now is work out the conditions necessary to make the appropriate vaccine as efficiently and quickly as possible once a pandemic strain emerges.


Louisville, Ky.: Has H5N1 gone human to human yet?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: There are several instances in which localized human-to-human transmission have been reported with the H5N1 viruses, but it is clear that theses viruses cannot do this efficiently.


Philadelphia, Pa.: During the 1918 epidemic, it became mandatory in many cities for people to wear masks. We also saw this during the SARS epidemic in Asia. How effective are masks at helping to prevent the spread of germs?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Masks are helpful in reducing the spread of respiratory viruses, but cannot prevent spread completely. Simple things like frequent hand-washing are also very helpful in preventing the spread of viruses.


Washington, D.C.: What's next for Secrets of the Dead? How did this episode do compared to others? Thanks.

Jared Lipworth: The next episode of Secrets of the Dead is on Wednesday night at 8 PM (check local listings), and is called Voyage of the Courtesans. Its the story of a ship full of female convicts that were sent from England to Australia in the early days of the Botany Bay penal Colony. The women were sent as "breeding stock" for the struggling colony, but took matters into their own hands and went on to become the founding mothers of modern Australia.

Killer Flu did very well last night. Clearly, it's a very relevant topic and because it's a Secrets of the Dead, it has both a strong historical angle and a strong science angle. So it appealed to audiences who like both or either.


Staten Island, N.Y.: If/when the next pandemic hits, will our advances in treatment of symptoms offer any relief that might make this pandemic less deadly than the 1917 outbreak?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Certainly we have lots of things available to us today that we did not have in 1918: 1) A good surveillance system to track and analyze viruses from people and animals 2) vaccines 3) anti-viral drugs and 5) antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial pneumonias (the biggest killer in 1918). But we also have several factors which may make things worse - the world is more crowded and people can move around much faster than they did in 1918 which could make the spread of a new pandemic even faster than in the past.


Anonymous: I understand that the 1918 flu pandemic killed people from ages 20 to 40 mostly. Why do you think that is?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: This is still a mystery. We think that people over the age of 35 or so probably had some protective immunity against H1 subtype influenza virus due to circulation of a related virus in the mid-1800's. Children often have a milder outcome to viral infection than do adults (for example measles or mumps). So, the young-adult age group may not have had any protective immunity and had a bad outcome to a virulent virus. Alternatively however, this age group may have had an unusual immune response to the virus based on their previous exposure history to flu viruses (for example, being born right about the time of the last pandemic in 1889-1892. This may have contributed to the higher mortality. We don't know yet because we don't have the pre-1918 virus to study or antibodies from those age groups from before 1918.


Pittsburgh, Pa.: The origin of the 1918 pandemic strain is still controversial. However, the vast majority of the polymorphisms in the 1918 pandemic strain can be found in human and classical swine H1N1 isolates of the early 1930's.

Doesn't that data indicate that 1918 was a recombinant between a human and swine H1N1 virus?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: The 1918 virus was the likely ancestor of both the human H1N1 and "classical" swine H1N1 viral lineages that were first identified in the 1930's with the isolation of influenza viruses from people and pigs. The data suggest not that the 1918 virus is swine-like but that 1930's classical swine viruses were more 1918-like than 1930's human viruses, because the human lineage evolved faster (more and longer-lived population immunity). The historical data suggests that swine influenza was a novel disease in 1918. The silent nucleotide changes that make 1918 less bird-like are retained to a significant degree in the the viruses directly descended from the 1918 virus -human and swine.


Midwest: I've been fascinated with your work, Dr. Taubenberger, since I read Gina Kolata's book. Thank you so much for your work.

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Thanks you for the compliment. It is a very fascinating topic and I continue to be really fascinated and amazed by what happened in 1918 and to try to understand what more about influenza ecology in general. Here's a virus present in dozens of species, birds and mammals, with this tremendous capacity to mutate and evolve. It is not just an interesting question, but one with real, practical implications.


Geneva: A collegiate of yours, Prof. Peter Palese Phd (Mt Sinai SM) recently presented at International Virology Symposium in Marburg, Germany last weekend. He discussed the "Reconstruction and Characterization of the 1918 Influenza Virus." However, what apparently what caused quite a stir was the presentation by Dr. Masato Tashiro on "H5N1 AI as a threat of a great pandemic" that accuses the Government of China of suppressing much higher numbers (300+) of infected and sick humans ( including H-H ). In fact it was reported as a highlight of the Symposium by the Frankfurter Allgemeine. What is your reaction to this development?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: I did not hear Dr. Tashiro's talk so I cannot comment about what was presented.


Salt Lake City, Utah: I seem to recall a bit of information suggesting that one of the genetic mutations in the 1918 virus may explain its virulence. Could you speak to that and to the larger issue of virulence factors at the time?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Virulence is a difficult issue to study, in that viruses may behave very differently between hosts. For example, there are examples of highly pathogenic viruses which kill 100% of chickens but will not cause any disease in ducks. The mutation that makes the virus deadly for chickens is known, but even with that mutation, it is not lethal for another species of bird. That said, mouse models do suggest that the 1918 virus encodes virulence factors in several of its genes - certainly the hemagglutinin gene - and the polymerase complex genes. What exact mutations are not yet known, but we hope to perform experiments to map these changes in the future.


Alabama: I understand the 1918 flu took a big toll on the young and relatively healthy. Going further back in history, the Black Death of 1361 also took a larger toll on the young, compared to the more famous outbreak in 1347-1350. Does anything in a virus predispose it to attacking people in their 20s and 30s?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: We just don't yet understand the unusual age-mortality in 1918. for example it might be that this virus induced a very robust immune reaction in the healthiest age group, meaning that if another virus having similar features were to appear it would have a similar effect. Alternatively, this age group in 1918 may have been particularly susceptible to a bad outcome after exposure to the 1918 virus based on their previous exposure history to other influenza strains, in a way unlikely to be repeated in the future. It is very important to know which of these possibilities is correct to draw the appropriate lessons from 1918.


Ojai, Calif.: You said, Chicago, Ill.: When do you think we will have a vaccination for H5N1?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: Scientists at NIH have made an H5N1 vaccine and it has already gone through several rounds of testing. The problem with making vaccines for influenza is that the virus mutates very rapidly. so, one cannot predict the exact form a future pandemic virus will take until that particular strain emerges. What scientists hope to do now is work out the conditions necessary to make the appropriate vaccine as efficiently and quickly as possible once a pandemic strain emerges.

So, why not develop a Flu Forecasting model, using sequence data at GeneBank and models such as recombination and reassortment to predict probabilities and prepare them for quick conversion to commercial production and distribution?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: That is exactly what the WHO network does for the annual influenza vaccine production cycle - using all available serolgic, antigenic, and molecular data to make predictions about the direction of influenza evolution. In regards a future pandemic this is much more problematic - we don't know when a new pandemic strain will emerge, where, or what subtype it will be. The NIH program that has made the pilot H5N1 vaccine seeks to make seed-stock vaccines for a more rapid commercial production from all known influenza subtypes (currently 16 different hemagglutinin forms and 9 different neuraminidase forms). This will help significantly for the future.


London, UK: Is there any scope to sequence/recreate any other previous influenza strains in history?

Specifically, has there or can there be any attempt to sequence the swine flu or avian flu samples that came just before or during the 1918 outbreak?

Or is the genetic material of that period in time now exhausted?

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger: We are working hard to identify human influenza cases from before 1918 and also from the 1920-1930's. This will be crucial to understand how the 1918 pandemic formed and how it evolved after the pandemic. We have also done some sequencing of bird influenza viruses from circa 1918 using preserved museum specimens. So, there is material around, it's just a matter of finding it and then doing the molecular analysis. This is unfortunately a very time-consuming project and much, much, much slower than genetic analysis from contemporary virus isolates because of the poor quality of the genetic material from this sort of sample.


Jared Lipworth: Thanks again for joining us today and please make sure to tune in to PBS on Wednesday night at 8pm (check local listings) for another spectacular edition of Secrets of the Dead. This film, Voyage of the Courtesans, tells the incredible story of a ship full of female convicts that was sent from England to Australia during the early days of the Botany Bay penal colony. The destitute women, banished to "parts beyond the seas," turned exile into opportunity and went on to become the founding mothers of modern Australia. It's a fascinating story and a beautiful film, so check your local listing and tune in to Secrets of the Dead. And for more information on past and upcoming programs, please visit our web site at


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D.
Jeffrey Taubenberger

Title: Senior Investigator

* Institution: National Institutes of Health
Phone: 301-443-5960

* Mailing Address:
Building 33 - C W Bill Young Center, 3E19A.3
33 North Dr
Bethesda, MD

Dr. Taubenberger initiated a project to recover the 1918 influenza virus from autopsy tissues of its victims in 1995, and his laboratory published the first 1918 sequence fragments in 1997. Since then, he has worked to determine the complete genetic sequence of the 1918 influenza virus. Dr. Taubenberger serves as the principal investigator of Project 1, which seeks to determine the small noncoding sequences on the ends of the 1918 influenza gene segments; to develop methods for viral RNA-fragment enriched cDNA libraries to allow for more efficient archaevirology of additional case material, both of pre-1918 and post-1918 influenza pneumonia autopsy cases; and to develop methods to enhance mRNA yield from these archival cases to allow gene array analysis.

But what is interesting is that Dr. Horowitz believes somebody else is responsible: Dr. Robertson of UK and Novovax. See post, dated April 29, 2009:

On this blog.

And do not forget Jane Burgermeister, who faults the WHO, the UN, and all of the above:

see the post: MAJOR BOMBSHELL, Jane Burgermeister, well as the coming additional posts about Jane Burgermeister and the book, A-VACCINE.

Enough for now.




1 comment:

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