Coronavirus Latest News

Bless you! Meet the flu hunters trying to stop the next pandemic in its tracks

Remember flu? Despite lockdowns holding it at bay, a small group of scientists is searching the globe for deadly new strains – and to work out what to put in next winter’s vaccines

Last month, a small group of international scientists met to decide an issue critical to the health of millions of people all over the planet. For once, it wasn’t about coronavirus, although these experts know a lot about that, too. The task in hand was to save us from a bug we’ve been fighting since before the days of Hippocrates, the first doctor to describe it in 400BC. It’s an adversary potentially as much of a threat as Covid. These scientists are the flu hunters – heads of a handful of international institutions who track this old foe as it evolves and disperses in its own fight for survival.

This crucial annual meeting was held, for the first time since Covid struck, in the plateglass anonymity of the World Health Organization building in Geneva, with a few participants on Zoom. The scientists came armed with mountains of data and decades of experience to decide which four strains of the flu virus circling the globe should be in the next flu vaccine, to protect us from illness and our healthcare systems from buckling. Each has their own opinion and there can be wrangling and even some political positioning. Experts from China, the US, Australia, Japan and Russia are involved. It’s not always easy. But on 25 February, with what surely ought to have been a white puff of pontifical smoke, they made their recommendation public. Many thousands of lives will be saved – if they have got it right.

Continue reading…

Read the original article at The Guardian

Related Articles

Back to top button