Paleoserology points to Coronavirus as possible causative pathogens of the ‘Russian flu’ - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Microbial Biotechnology Year : 2022

Paleoserology points to Coronavirus as possible causative pathogens of the ‘Russian flu’

Abstract

We have read with great interest the paper related to the aetiology of the ‘Russian flu’, that you recently edited and published in Microbial Biotechnology (Brüssow and Brüssow, 2021). In this paper, the authors reviewed epidemiological and clinical data published by the English and German contemporaries of the ‘Russian flu’, a deadly pandemic that occurred in continental Europe between 1889 and 1891 (Valleron et al., 2010). ‘Russian flu’ appeared in Bukhara, Uzbekistan in May 1889 (Sisley, 1891) and spread around the world via steamboat and railroad in at least three waves between 1891 and 1893 (Brüssow and Brüssow, 2021) killing an estimated total of one million people in Europe only (Honigsbaum, 2013). This new reading of the historical medical documents published in Great Britain and Germany, raised the hypothesis of a Coronavirus pandemic at the end of the 19th century: retrospective analyses showed that historical descriptions of ‘Russian flu’ were characterized by intestinal, respiratory and neurological signs specifically including loss of taste and smell, similar to what was described during the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by a SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus (Brüssow and Brüssow, 2021). However, the aetiology of the ‘Russian flu’ remains controversial in the absence of any direct or indirect paleomicrobiological diagnosis, and the hypothesis of an influenza stricto sensu caused by an Influenza virus has also been proposed (Dowdle, 1999).
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hal-03663885 , version 1 (08-04-2024)

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Lindsay Ramassy, Hamadou Oumarou Hama, Caroline Costedoat, Michel Signoli, Emeline Verna, et al.. Paleoserology points to Coronavirus as possible causative pathogens of the ‘Russian flu’. Microbial Biotechnology, 2022, 15 (7), pp.1943-1945. ⟨10.1111/1751-7915.14058⟩. ⟨hal-03663885⟩
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