Behind the Steel Door

In 2011, Yoshihiro Kawaoka reported that his team had engineered a pandemic form of the bird flu virus. Bird flu, also known as H5N1, has infected infected nearly 700 people worldwide and killed more than 400. But it hasn’t yet gained the ability to jump easily from human to human. Kawaoka’s research suggested that capability might be closer […]

This Year’s Flu Vaccine Is Shoddy: Four Reasons to Get It Anyway

Influenza hit the US hard this winter. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that influenza had reached epidemic proportions across large swaths of the country. Most of us think of the flu as an inconvenience, but the virus can be deadly. In early January, a 26-year-old radiology technician in Wisconsin died […]

What happens when we can’t afford to be prepared?

The emergence of the H7N9 bird flu virus has rekindled memories of our last flu pandemic – just as the United States is debating whether it can afford to prepare for the next one. Remember the H1N1 flu scare of 2009? I always will, because pregnant women were vulnerable to becoming severely ill or dying […]

Feeling Feverish? Big Brother Already Knows

You feel lousy. Some old lady sneezed on you in the subway. Now you’re achy and tired and feverish. Face it, Bud. You’ve got the flu. Better just crawl back into bed. What’s that? You have to fly to London? You’ve got an important meeting with a client? Well, I guess I can’t stop you. […]