Article ID: CBB603005256

It Wasn't Supposed to Be a Coronavirus: The Quest for an Influenza A(h5n1)-Derived Vaccine and the Limits of Pandemic Preparedness (2020)


The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about what efforts were made across the world to prepare governments and healthcare systems for such an event. This spotlight article looks at developments made in “pre-pandemic preparedness planning” following a number of outbreaks of influenza type A virus in 1997. At that time, a specific avian influenza subtype, referred to as A(H5N1), wreaked havoc among fowl but also infected humans through direct transmission. The potential for slight genetic mutations that could make A(H5N1) more infectious, allowing human-to-human transmission, presented the threat of a deadly influenza pandemic. As a result, the U.S. government (and others coordinating through the World Health Organization) launched a pandemic preparation plan, including strategies to develop vaccines against A(H5N1) and its genetic lineages each year. This spotlight article discusses the events that led to the specific concern about A(H5N1) among public health officials, as well as early efforts to derive and stockpile an appropriate vaccine to protect against a possible pandemic. This perspective presents the challenges the world has faced, in recent history, in striving to keep one step ahead of pandemic threats.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article M. Kemal Temel; (2020)
The 1918 “Spanish Flu” Pandemic in the Ottoman Capital, Istanbul (/isis/citation/CBB539750154/)

Article Stefano Santasilia; (2020)
Pandemia e stili di vita: pazienza (/isis/citation/CBB845461986/)

Book Carlo Caduff; (2015)
The Pandemic Perhaps: Dramatic Events in a Public Culture of Danger (/isis/citation/CBB736184954/)

Article Silvia Caianiello; (2020)
Accelerazione. Riflessioni sulle temporalità della pandemia (/isis/citation/CBB072366901/)

Article Michael P. Kelly; Federica Russo; (2021)
The epistemic values at the basis of epidemiology and public health (/isis/citation/CBB856188518/)

Article Stefania Achella; (2020)
Ragioni della scienza e ragioni politiche. Alcune considerazioni filosofiche (/isis/citation/CBB319793049/)

Article Monica H. Green; (2020)
Emerging Diseases, Re-Emerging Histories (/isis/citation/CBB050271628/)

Book Jacques Pépin; (2021)
The Origins of AIDS (/isis/citation/CBB084551418/)

Article Wesley Shrum; John Aggrey; Andre Campos; Janaina Pamplona da Costa; Jan Joseph; Pablo Kreimer; Rhiannon Kroeger; Leandro Rodriguez Medina; Paige Miller; Antony Palackal; Ana Pandal de la Peza; Abou Traore; (October 2020)
Who’s afraid of Ebola? Epidemic fires and locative fears in the Information Age (/isis/citation/CBB307916719/)

Article David S. Jones; (2020)
COVID-19, History, and Humility (/isis/citation/CBB009243530/)

Thesis Bresalier, M C; (cited 2010)
Transforming Flu: Medical Science and the Making of a Virus Disease in London, 1890--1939 (/isis/citation/CBB001567257/)

Article Luisa Simonutti; (2020)
Paure, contaminazioni e alterità. Da Bacone a Kapuściński (/isis/citation/CBB346421875/)

Article Luisa Simonutti; (2020)
Uneasiness. John Locke e le inquietudini del presente (/isis/citation/CBB647837757/)

Book Honigsbaum, Mark; (2014)
A History of the Great Influenza Pandemics: Death, Panic and Hysteria, 1830--1920 (/isis/citation/CBB001550988/)

Book John Rhodes; (2021)
How to Make a Vaccine: An Essential Guide for COVID-19 and Beyond (/isis/citation/CBB659711878/)

Article Anne-Emanuelle Birn; (2020)
How to Have Narrative-Flipping History in a Pandemic: Views of/from Latin America (/isis/citation/CBB573683614/)

Authors & Contributors
Simonutti, Luisa
Jahn, Stefanie
Honigsbaum, Mark
Bresalier, M C
Jones, David S.
Green, Monica H.
Laboratorio dell'ISPF
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
Social Studies of Science
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Canadian Journal of Health History/Revue canadienne d’histoire de la santé
I. B. Tauris
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Cambridge University
Cambridge University Press
University of Chicago Press
University of California Press
Public health
Medicine and society
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Infectious diseases
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
Early modern
London (England)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ottoman Empire
Istanbul (Turkey)
Latin America

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment