Before it went on to take 50 million lives worldwide, Boston’s 1918 flu outbreak started with military personnel returning home to overcrowded barracks from the Great War. The city health commissioner William Creighton Woodward had seen flu outbreaks before, but not like…

Researchers have posited another benefit of reducing obesity rates: limiting the toll of viral infectious diseases. According to a study of Nicaraguan households spanning 3 flu seasons, the influenza A virus sheds longer in obese people because of chronic inflammation…

Bill Gates announced Friday a $12 million Grand Challenge to speed up development of a universal flu vaccine, aiming for clinical trials by 2021. The seasonal flu vaccine is a guessing game in matching strain to vaccine that takes 6 months. That timeline leaves us ill-…

If humanity is lucky, the next flu virus with pandemic potential will unfold somewhere quick to catch and contain the threat—a country with a strong public health service and well-stocked hospitals.

Influenza preys on weak immune systems—and weak health systems. When the next flu pandemic hits, a nation’s successful response depends on strong health resources, infrastructure and leadership.

Does a 250-pound male linebacker need the same flu vaccine as a 120-pound female dancer? Probably not. Biomedical research has established that factors such as gender, age and body composition can affect the body’s immune responses prompted by vaccination. Pregnancy, a…

Nearly 100 years after the 1918 flu pandemic claimed as many as 50 million lives, many of us would like to think such devastating losses will never be seen again. Unfortunately, the experts say otherwise. Despite a century’s worth of lifesaving scientific and medical…

Despite countless breakthroughs in medicine since the 1918 flu pandemic, one key advance continues to elude researchers. Without a universal vaccine to combat ever-changing flu strains, another pandemic threatens to overwhelm US health care system, warns Tom Inglesby, MD…

Medical advances have made many complacent about seasonal flu—and that is a mistake, writes historian John M. Barry.   The 1918 flu pandemic response was riddled with mass misdiagnoses, misinformation and officials undermining the situation–all still possible now. Likely…

A relatively unknown flu strain, H7N9, outranks H1N1 and H5N1 (bird flu) on the CDC’s Most Wanted list.   Scoring strains on a scale of 1 to 10, the list evaluates strains' pandemic potential. Historically harmless in birds, H7N9 was 1st reported in humans in 2013. ¼ of 135…