The Norway expedition was initiated by Dr. Kirsty Duncan in Canada, who read Dr. Alfred Crosby's book on the history of the 1918 flu and thought that it would be extremely useful to find a source of the 1918 virus so that genetic analysis could be made. She looked at sources in which frozen bodies might possibly still be, Alaska being one of them, and finally found out about seven miners who were buried on the island of Spitzbergen which belongs to Norway, which is inside the Arctic Circle, in which these miners died in the Fall of 1918 of influenza. There had been prior expeditions to Alaska in the 1950's to exhume frozen bodies of victims of the 1918 flu with the attempt to culture the virus.
In the 1950's influenza viruses could be cultured and characterized in the laboratory, but molecular genetic analysis like we're doing now was not possible.
So bodies were exhumed and examined and attempts to culture virus were made, which were unsuccessful. They were able to actually culture out some live bacteria still from the lungs of these victims, but no influenza viruses.
So her goal is to repeat this but to use some of these more modern molecular techniques as well. This project was initiated completely independently of our work and vice versa. Probably initiated about the same time and we now are in contact and know one another and I have participated in meetings about the Spitzbergen material and it's possible that our laboratory here will analyze tissues for genetic evidence of the 1918 virus should exhumation in the Spitzbergen island occur.