CFR Symposium on Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy

Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health
October 16, 2009 - New York, NY

On August 24, 2009 the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its "Report to the President on U.S. Preparations for 2009-H1N1 Influenza," predicting, among other things, that the H1N1 (aka "swine flu") pandemic would resurge in North America in September, peaking by mid-October, causing infection and illness to up to half the U.S. population before the end of 2009.  The PCAST assessment also suggested that H1N1 vaccines would not be available for the general public until well after the mid-October peak, and the epidemic would surge so rapidly that it could overwhelm hospitals, medical supplies and intensive care units, leading to as many as 90,000 deaths in the U.S. The predicted surge held special significance for schools, parents and employers, as sick-outs and school closures could impact productivity. Despite months of preparation, supplies of vaccines, medicines and protective gear were expected to be inadequate, and global competition for essential tools for pandemic control and treatment would be fierce. One billion doses of H1N1 vaccine were ordered from several pharmaceutical companies, and the bulk of that supply was prioritized for ten wealthy nations, particularly the U.S. Little, if any, vaccine, medicine or protective gear was expected to be ready, affordable and distributed for the bottom four billion poorest people on Earth.

The CFR meeting was convened at the predicted peak of the North American pandemic. Will the PCAST model have proven correct? Looking forward, what can be scientifically forecast regarding shifts in the virology and epidemiology of the H1N1 pandemic? What are the economic and financial impacts of the outbreak? What have been, and can be predicted to be, the foreign policy implications of the pandemic and related competition for medical and public health tools?

 

Related Links:

Summary of Sessions I - III (PDF)

 

 

Meetings

Conference Panel Session

Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: The Science

Presider:

Jon Cohen, Correspondent, Science Magazine

Panelists:

Arnold Monto, Professor, Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Peter Palese, Professor and Chair, Microbiology, and Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Lone Simonsen, Research Professor and Research Director, Department of Global Health, George Washington University
October 16, 2009

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Conference Panel Session

Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: The Economics

Presider:

Robert E. Rubin, Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury; Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations

Panelists:

Yanzhong Huang, Director, Center for Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University, Andrew Jack, Pharmaceutical Correspondent, Financial Times, Michael Osterholm, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota
October 16, 2009

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Conference Panel Session

Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: Foreign Policy

Presider:

Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations

Panelists:

John Lange, Senior Program Officer for Developing-Country Policy & Advocacy, Global Health Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Former Special Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, U.S. Department of State, Helen Branswell, Medical Reporter, The Canadian Press
October 16, 2009

This meeting is on the record.

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