NPR logo

Experts: Use 1918 Methods to Fight Pandemic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5731688/5732879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Experts: Use 1918 Methods to Fight Pandemic

Health

Experts: Use 1918 Methods to Fight Pandemic

Experts: Use 1918 Methods to Fight Pandemic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5731688/5732879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

When the next pandemic strikes, Navy researchers say the way to save the most lives may be to bring back a treatment used during the deadly pandemic of 1918. Back then, some military doctors injected severely afflicted patients with blood or blood plasma from people who had recovered from the flu.

Old studies indicate that the blood-injection treatment reduced mortality rates by as much as 50 percent. Now, researchers are calling for an effort to see if the 1918 treatment will work against deadly Asian bird flu.

The international study would be difficult to do. But many flu experts, citing the months-long wait for a vaccine for the next pandemic, say the 1918 method is worth a shot.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.