Friday, October 23, 2009

MIT Lecture: Reflections on the Current H1N1 Flu

MIT World has a lecture by John M. Barry about the H1N1 pandemic and it's titled, "Reflections on the Current H1N1 Flu." It's hard to believe that H1N1 has already killed several children and teenagers this fall. the winter hasn't even arrived and it's frightening to imagine what will happen since the H1N1 vaccine is being released so late in the year.

Here's a brief summary of the lecture:
John M. Barry brings unsettling news from the frontlines of H1N1 research: this novel influenza virus is very hard to pin down. In spite of international scientific scrutiny, H1N1 continues to baffle and elude, worrying health officials defending against the pandemic, and challenging some ideas about influenza in general. Says Barry, “A lot of things we thought we knew, the virus demonstrates we knew wrong.”
Barry examines the current pandemic in both historic and scientific context. Most influenza viruses share certain features: They can jump to other species by way of mutation, or by mixing genetic components with another virus that happens to be infecting the same cell at the same time. Influenza pandemics go “as far back in history as we can look,” with 10 occurring in just the last 300 years. Four of the most recent pandemics appear to have rolled out in waves of varying lethality, infecting at peak times some 30% of the human population...
To view the online MIT World lecture, click here.

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