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Mobile, Ala. (March 2, 2006)
Contact: Paul Taylor, (251) 461-1509

USA College of Medicine Alum Recognized By The Lancet For Top Scientific Papers of 2005


Research conducted by Dr. Terrence Tumpey, who received his doctorate in basic medical sciences at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in 1997, is helping scientists prepare for the current avian flu by looking back at the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic virus.

Recognizing the importance of his research and that of his colleagues, The Lancet announced today that the two papers, which were published in the journals Nature and Science respectively, were landslide winners in a vote conducted among members of Lancet's international advisory board and its editors.
Dr. Terrence Tumpey
 
Tumpey, who was the lead author on the Science paper, is now a senior microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. In his examination of the deadly 1918 influenza virus, he uncovered the genes which were responsible for making the virus so harmful. For medical researchers, this is an important advance for current preparedness efforts because knowing which genes are responsible for causing severe illness helps them in developing new drugs and vaccines (e.g., they can focus their research on those genes).
 
The 1918 pandemic killed an estimated 20-50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 in the United States. The pandemic’s most striking feature was its unusually high death rate among otherwise healthy people aged 15-34. During normal seasonal flu outbreaks, severe complications and death are most common among the elderly and young children.
 
Prior to this study, which was first published in the Oct. 7, 2005 issue of Science, flu experts had little knowledge of what made the 1918 pandemic so much more deadly than the 1957 and 1968 pandemics.
 
The Lancet is the world's leading independent general medical journal. The journal's coverage is international in focus and extends to all aspects of human health. The Lancet is published weekly from editorial offices in London and New York.
 
 
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: March 2, 2006 10:14 AM
http://www.southalabama.edu/healthsystem/pressreleases/2006pr/030206b.html