From Spanish Flu to Ebola

What happens when viruses go rogue? 

From Spanish Flu of 1918 to Today: What Can We Learn from Viruses? (A12)

9:15-11:15 a.m.


Grand Ballroom 8-9 (North Tower, Lobby Level), Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Viruses evolve principally to survive and propagate. Killing the host is not part of that survival plan. When viruses go rogue, bad things happen. In talking about rogue viruses, Joshua Lederberg, the microbial geneticist and Nobel Laureate, said, “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus.”

It is this threat that brings experts together in the session From Spanish Flu of 1918 to Today: What Can We Learn from Viruses?

“In the context of the 100th anniversary of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918—which ultimately killed more people than the First World War—we believe that a symposium that highlights from a historical, scientific, and clinical perspective what we have learned about evolving viruses would be timely and of interest to clinicians,” says session moderator Seamas Donnelly, MD, professor of medicine at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland.

Seamas Donnelly, MD

Seamas Donnelly, MD

The session will begin with Michael Worobey, PhD, from the University of Arizona, who will provide a historical and scientific overview on what we can learn from the Spanish flu of 1918. Following this, Dr. Donnelly and Nicholas W. Lukacs, PhD, from the University of Michigan, will each speak on how viruses contribute to an aggressive clinical phenotype in pulmonary fibrosis and asthma, respectively.

Frances E. H. Lee, MD, from Emory University, will summarize recent work in defining how viruses evolve to bypass our human immune defenses. Rounding off the session is an update on the highly topical Ebola virus and the research endeavors of Sharon Schendel, PhD, and colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, in defining future curative therapies for viral hemorrhagic fever.