While the number of human cases of H7N9 bird flu is rising in China, and H5N1 is a persistent threat, different strategies of prevention are being considered.
June 13, 2016
One of the main source of distrust towards public health authorities is the suspect of hidden connections with the pharmaceutical industry, but, in case of a severe pandemic, an adequate supply of antivirals and vaccines is essential. ASSET asked Norman Begg, GSK Vice President, Head of Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines, what kind of agreements exist for Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC) or of a pandemic, between big pharma and WHO. The answer for the two situations is not the same.
June 30, 2016
Albert Osterhaus, director of the Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses (RIZ) in Hannover, Germany, and Chairman of the European Working group on Influenza (ESW), is one of the top virologist in the world, who has discovered more than 50 new viruses over the last decades. In this short video he explains why the word “pandemic” can be a cause of misunderstanding between health authorities and the public, as it happened in 2009, when the new emerging flu virus A(H1N1) turned out to be milder than expected in the beginning.
July 13, 2016
Many clinical trials, even those on vaccines, are currently being made without considering the immunological differences that can exist between men and women. Katie Flanagan, senior lecturer of the Department of Immunology at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, explains how, and why this needs to be changed.
July 29, 2016
Living poultry markets, common in China and in other eastern countries, are a typical example of how societal factors can be relevant in the spread of infectious diseases. A science-with-and-for-society approach should therefore find a way to solve this problem without fostering people hostility towards authorities. Even if central slaughters would be the simplest solutions, people would not accept them. Ivan Hung, Clinical Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in the Department of Medicine at the Queen Mary Hospital of the University of Hong Kong, explains how this issue can be dealt with, in the fight against H7N9 bird flu virus and other new strains.
Influenza pandemics are unpredictable but recurring events that can have severe consequences on human health and socio-economic life to global level. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended all countries to prepare a pandemic influenza plan following its own guidelines.