Not Getting the Flu: Influenza and the Inevitability of Ignorance

Monday 4th February 2019, 7pm

Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street

Speaker: Ed Hutchinson

In 1918-9 a new strain of influenza caused the most severe outbreak of disease in recorded history. In the century that followed we have learnt a great deal about what causes influenza and why it can be such a severe disease. But now, as in 1918, we still only see part of the picture. This talk will use influenza to consider the way ignorance is woven through our understanding of disease: the inevitable gaps in our scientific knowledge, the ways in which we ignore and misunderstand the risks posed by familiar diseases, and what degree of risk is acceptable when carrying out experiments to predict whether a virus is capable of causing a future pandemic.

 Ed Hutchinson is a Research Fellow at the Medical Research Council-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, which houses the largest grouping of virologists in the UK. His research group studies the structure and composition of influenza viruses in order to determine what makes them infectious.