• Fill the gaps by using these key words from the text.
  • Look in the text and find this information as quickly as possible.
  • Back from the dead By Ian Sample
  • Topical News Lessons

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    1,2 - THE GUARDIAN WEEKLY Elementary (2)
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    Topical News 

    © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2005 
    Taken from the 
    section in 
    Fill the gaps by using these key words from the text. 
    1. If something is ____________, it is very dangerous and could kill you. 
    2. People use their ____________ when they breathe. 
    3. If you think something bad will happen, you feel ____________. 
    4. A ____________ is an infectious disease that almost everyone in a very large area 
    5. If you are ____________ to a disease, you are safe from it and you will not catch it.
    6. An ____________ is a scientific test to find out what happens to something. 
    7. A ____________ is a building or a large room where people do scientific experiments. 
    8. A ____________ is a simple living thing that can enter your body and make you ill.
    Look in the text and find this information as quickly as possible. 
    1. When was the Spanish flu pandemic? 
    2. How many people died in the Spanish flu pandemic? 
    3. Where did the scientists produce a copy of the Spanish flu virus? 
    4. How much weight did the laboratory mice lose? 
    5. How quickly did the laboratory mice die? 
    6. What is H5N1? 

    © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2005 
    Taken from the 
    section in 
    Back from the dead
    By Ian Sample
    Many people today are worried about bird 
    flu. They are afraid that it will pass from 
    birds to humans and that thousands of 
    people will die in a pandemic. In 1918 a flu 
    virus killed about 50 million people around 
    the world. The virus was called Spanish 
    influenza (or Spanish flu, for short) because 
    Spanish newspapers first described the 
    disease. Now, after nine years of work, 
    scientists in an American laboratory in 
    Atlanta, Georgia, have produced a copy of 
    the Spanish flu virus. They are also going to 
    publish the genetic sequence of the virus on 
    the internet and some experts are afraid that 
    other laboratories could copy the virus.
    Scientists have copied the virus because they 
    want to understand why the 1918 Spanish 
    flu pandemic killed so many people. In a 
    report in the journal Science, Dr Jeffery 
    Taubenberger and a team of scientists in the 
    USA show that the copied virus is extremely 
    powerful. The scientists injected the virus 
    into mice and the mice began to lose weight 
    very quickly. They lost 13% of their weight 
    in two days and all of the mice died within 
    six days. 
    "I didn't expect it to be as lethal as it was," 
    Dr Terrence Tumpey, one of the scientists in 
    the team, told the journal Nature. In another 
    experiment, they injected more mice with a 
    normal type of flu. The mice lost weight at 
    first but then they got better and did not die. 
    The experiments showed that the mice with 
    the Spanish flu virus had 39,000 times more 
    flu virus in their bodies than the second 
    group of mice.
    The scientists who copied the virus say their 
    work has already provided important 
    information about the virus and helps to 
    explain why it is so lethal. But other experts 
    are worried that the virus could escape from 
    the laboratory. "Some people will think that 
    they have really created a biological weapon," 
    said Professor Ronald Atlas of the University 
    of Louisville in Kentucky. "I am even more 
    worried now than I was before about the 
    possibility of a flu pandemic. The 1918 flu 
    pandemic started with bird flu and that might 
    happen again today with Asian bird flu." 
    Some scientists are worried about the 
    publication of the genetic sequence on the 
    internet. They are afraid that biologists could 
    copy the virus using the information on the 
    internet. This could be very dangerous. 
    It took a long time to copy the virus. Scientists 
    used material taken from the lungs of people 
    who died from the flu virus in 1918. In a 
    second report in Nature, Taubenberger and his 
    colleagues analyzed the genetic make-up of 
    the virus. They were surprised to find that it 
    was completely different from all the normal 
    human flu viruses. This probably means that 
    Spanish flu jumped from birds to humans and 
    did not mix with a human virus first. This is 
    very worrying for scientists because in the past 
    everyone believed that a pandemic was only 
    possible if a bird flu virus mixed with a human 
    flu virus. 
    Taubenberger says it is very important to 
    know what changes in the virus caused the 
    1918 Spanish flu virus. This will help 
    scientists to work out which viruses might 
    cause a pandemic. The H5N1 bird flu in Asia 
    is already changing and it could infect 
    humans, he said.
    Viruses have escaped from high-security labs 
    before. The Sars virus escaped at least twice, 
    once in Taiwan and once in Singapore. But 
    some scientists believe a pandemic will not 
    happen even if the virus escapes, because most 
    people are naturally immune and there are 
    now a lot of drugs which protect people
    from flu.
    The Guardian Weekly XXX, page X  

    © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2005 
    Taken from the 
    section in 

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