Hunting for the next pandemic


In his new book The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age, HSPH alumnus Nathan Wolfe, SD ’98, describes the origins of deadly viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu, and the link between modern life and global pandemic threats. Wolfe, the founder and director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative (GVFI), a pandemic early warning system which monitors the spillover of novel viruses from animals into humans, also shares insights into how developing technologies may counter potential threats.

Wolfe described his work hunting for the signs of the next killer virus, from blood samples of bushmeat in the Cameroonian jungle to clusters of Internet searches and Twitter chatter, on the November 2, 2011 edition of PBS Newshour.

“Pandemic prevention, this is increasingly something that people are recognizing as an issue. But it’s going to take some time for the resources to catch up. We need basically hundreds of millions of dollars to do this work,” Wolfe told Newshour.  “These are not the kind of things that should be cut when it comes time to cutting budgets. If so, we’re just sitting there, bullets are dodging left and right, and we’re basically ignoring the shooters.”

Watch PBS Newshour  segment, listen to interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, and view Time photo essay.

Learn more

Nathan Wolfe: Mission Possible (Harvard Public Health Review)