Science & Society Print E-mail

Sunday 5 September, 19:00 to 20:30 - Room H2, Level -1

How a virus becomes a global scare - Pandemics and the public health system


Aim of the session is to analyse the process from the isolation of a new virus, the production of new vaccines and the development of government's decisions on how to inform and protect the population. In particular, the session will focus on how the recent swine flu and the SARS pandemics were managed by science and politics/governments.

The session will discuss the following questions:

  • How do new viruses develop and spread? - With reference to Swine flu and SARS
  • Who is in charge of taking decisions regarding the development of vaccines? Which role does industry play and which politics/governments?
  • How are vaccines made? Why was the vaccine against swine flu so controversial?
  • How does the public health system react to a pandemic scare?
  • What is the effect of a pandemic on local and national economies?


Maria Leptin, EMBO Director, Heidelberg, DE


Albert Osterhaus, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, NL

Barbara Bannister, Consultant Advisor in Pandemic Flu Planning, Department of Health, London, UK


No registration necessary


Tapas and wine will be available for the participants