H1N1

As a part of the ASSET project, the European Institute of Women’s Health were tasked with liaising with local schools to disseminate the activities of the ASSET project. The schools were to have received funding under the Erasmus Plus programme, which is the programme that combines all the EU’s current schemes for education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

November 9, 2016

In 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic, vaccines were ready and could be supplied only when the peak of the pandemic was already decreasing in most European countries, discouraging people from getting vaccinated. Since the disease was not as severe as it was feared in the beginning, the consequences of this delay were not that serious, even if some lives could have been saved if the vaccines were available in advance. Ebola vaccine also arrived to West Africa when the epidemic was over, while a zika vaccine is still very far away. According to Thomas Breuer, however, GSK Chief Medical Officer, in case of another flu pandemic, a better cooperation among stakeholders and new technologies could accelerate the production and supply of new vaccines.

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.

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Declaring an emergency is a dirty work, but someone has to do it. When facing a serious threat to global public health, even if complete evidence is lacking, someone has to take the responsibility to push the red button that activates a chain of coordinated actions (such as cooperation among states and research on vaccines). Choosing to do this, the risk of giving a false alarm is unavoidable.

H1N1 Influenza Virus Particles

During the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic, the issue of how many deaths were associated to the emerging virus was one of the main causes of misunderstanding between authorities and the general public, which ended in a worrying lack of trust. The pandemic, initially presented as a potential serious threat, in the end was no more severe than a common seasonal flu. Unfortunately, even nowadays, it is difficult to ascertain if and how much H1N1 pandemic was different from any other seasonal flu, based on official data.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 13:00

Members of the ECOM project will gather for a final symposium on November 10th 2015 in Stockholm, prior to the European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE). ECOM – which stands for Effective Communication in Outbreak Management – is an EU funded project that aims to develop strategies for improving risk-communication during major pandemic outbreaks in Europe.

Mandeville KL, O'Neill S, Brighouse A, Walker A, Yarrow K, Chan K. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2014 Mar;68(3):197-203.

Background: Concerns have been raised over competing interests (CoI) among academics during the 2009 to 2010 A/H1N1 pandemic. Media reporting can influence public anxiety and demand for pharmaceutical products. We assessed CoI of academics providing media commentary during the early stages of the pandemic.

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MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence