"Why Influenza Kills and will Kill Again" Yoshihiro Kawaoka
Why Influenza Kills and will Kill Again
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD
International Research Center for Infectious Diseases and Division of Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo
In the past century, there were three influenza pandemics (worldwide outbreaks): the Spanish flu in 1918, the Asian flu in 1957, and the Hong Kong flu in 1968. In addition, we have experienced a pandemic in 2009. Among these pandemics, the Spanish flu was the most devastating, killing more than 20 million people worldwide. In addition to these pandemics, yearly influenza epidemics occur, causing increased morbidity and mortality, particularly in vulnerable populations like the elderly. Moreover, the economic impact of influenza cannot be disregarded; huge losses occur as a result of lost work and increased health care expenditures during epidemics. In my talk, I will discuss our recent findings that may lead to the development of antiviral measures to quell the impact of this virus.