Navigation Links
Pandemic controversies: The global response to pandemic influenza must change

'Evil' scientists, deadly viruses and terrorist plots are usually the preserve of Hollywood blockbusters. But when it comes to pandemic influenza, it is the stuff of real life. As controversy about research into the H5N1 bird flu virus continues, a new paper argues for a complete overhaul of current approaches to pandemic preparedness.

To Pandemic or Not? Reconfiguring Global Responses to Influenza, by Dr Paul Forster, of the ESRC STEPS Centre, investigates the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009-10 and sets out some vital lessons if we are to prepare for pandemic influenza effectively, while avoiding confusing and costly mistakes.

When the H1N1 outbreak in 2009-10 was milder than the World Health Organization had predicted, WHO was accused of colluding with the pharmaceutical industry and national governments of squandering billions. The Council of Europe said US$18 billion was wasted, and branded WHO's actions "one of the greatest medical scandals of the century". The event revealed weaknesses in the world's current configuration of planning for and responding to pandemic influenza, according to Dr Forster.

Science, public health policy makers and the worldwide public were confounded by the uncertainty, complexity and politics of pandemic influenza and the high emotions it inspires. Amid this confusion, the global and national institutions responsible for protecting public health were shown to be over-reliant on a reductive, science-led approach that prioritised a one-size-fits-all response, and failed to address the needs and priorities of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. Dr Forster suggests new ways to construct plural responses more suited to tackling the globalised mix of politics, people and pathogens that pandemics produce.

"Preparing for an influenza pandemic means preparing for surprises and being ready to respond rapidly and flexibly under conditions of uncertainty. If people across the globe are to be ready, plural and diverse response pathways are required," said Dr Forster, an independent development consultant and STEPS Centre researcher. "The world would be better protected by a re-ordering of pandemic preparedness and response efforts around the needs of the world's poorest, most vulnerable, and most exposed people," he added.

A re-ordered response would allow the undue pre-eminence of pharmaceuticals to be examined, and bring focus on the pressing need for disease surveillance in animals, scrutiny of contemporary agricultural practices and a broadening of research efforts. It might also refresh the World Health Organization's approach, which Dr Forster believes supports an inflexible and narrow set of interests by default, rather than conspiracy.

With most flu experts agreeing that it is not so much a question of if, but rather when, a new pandemic will arrive, the sooner the lessons of outbreaks such as that in 2009-10 can be learned, the better.


Contact: Julia Day
Institute of Development Studies

Related biology news :

1. Pandemic vaccination did not increase risk of fetal death
2. Novo Nordisk and BGI establish global collaboration framework
3. EU-funded study underlines importance of Congo Basin for global climate and biodiversity
4. Global warming threat to coral reefs: Can some species adapt?
5. 1 solution to global overfishing found
6. Young researcher taking fight against global killer to the next level in Vietnam
7. Heightened Security Threats and Economic Issues Provide Fillip to Global Civil and Military Biometrics Market, Says Frost & Sullivan
8. Global Information Inc. Announces Discounted Conference Registration For Bio-IT World Asia and Biodetection Technologies 2012
9. Global effort launched to save turtles from extinction
10. New Biotech and Pharmaceutical Market Research from Global Information Inc Forecasts Strong Growth Coming Out of Recession
11. 2012 Forecast for US Molecular Diagnostics Market Now Available From Global Information Inc.
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/12/2016)... -- , a brand of Troubadour Research ... the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. A ... to a program where they would receive discounts for ... "We were surprised to see that so ... , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there are ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Andrew ... Published recently in ... journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , ... cancer care is placing an increasing burden on ... biologic therapies. With the patents on many biologics ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, ... ... capture (EDC) software, is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase ... DIA Annual conference. ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... introduce a new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for ... September 12–17 in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: