Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lead Coffin Exhumation

Researchers are exhuming the body of a man who died 90 years ago from the Spanish Flu in hopes of gaining information to help avoid a similar future outbreak.

Sir Mark Sykes died in 1919 and was buried in a lead coffin. Scientists hope the coffin preserved his body well enough that some DNA of the virus still exists. Their suspicions are that similarities to the current bird flu may exist and information can be gleaned to help combat a possible outbreak.

The Spanish Flu killed nearly 50 million people, of which Sir Sykes was one of the last. He was an important politician who was poised to become a future Prime Minister candidate and made contributions still in use to this day.

His descendants and church approved the exhumation, which will take place under airtight conditions to avoid contamination.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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