OK, it’s not quite Zombies, but you can ACTUALLY help save the world from the next influenza pandemic.

 

In 1918 the influenza virus spread around the world and killed between 50-100 million people, more than the World Wars combined. Since then there have been several other pandemic outbreaks, and millions more have died. Simply by downloading an app, you can help scientists plan better for the next influenza pandemic and potentially save millions of lives.

 

A deadly virus spreading around the world is a popular movie theme and has been used as the basis for many games. The threat of a deadly virus outbreak is at the top of the UK Government’s Risk Register of threats to the UK. Now the BBC, along with the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has launched an app to help better understand how a pandemic virus might spread.

 

The app is UK based, and is designed to help the government understand how best to direct their resources, and where the NHS and other public services would need support. It works to understand human behaviours, and how the spread of a virus would take place. The study itself is completely anonymous. The more people that take part in the survey, the more accurate the data will be. There is a UK wide option, and also a ‘Haslemere Outbreak’ section specific to the residents of Haslemere, Surrey.

 

Get Involved.

You can find out more, and take part, by visiting the BBC’s Pandemic webpage here and download the app from the app stores for both Apple and Android smartphones.

 

At FluCamp we work to develop new influenza vaccines that would help prevent pandemic viruses spreading; these are known as Universal Influenza Vaccines. We hope the research our scientists, medics and, of course, FluCamp volunteers make possible will provide an important defence against a future virus outbreak. If you would like to contribute to discovering an invaluable influenza cure then why not look at how to become a FluCamp volunteer; simply sign up online.

 

Summary was written by Dr Rob Lambkin-Williams [rlw@hvivo.com]

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