Planning for Pandemic
With access to the Health Protection Agency, Winifred Robinson follows the work of doctors, scientists and officials as they attempt to limit possible damage from the swine flu pandemic.
The programme goes behind the scenes with health professionals at the Health Protection Agency as they coordinate a national response to the flu pandemic. Data comes in from around the world to be interpreted and used to inform decisions that are likely to affect all of us.
The HPA's hope is that a vaccine can be developed by autumn, and so in regional flu centres, health service volunteers are being trained to deal with hundreds of calls from those suspected of having the virus.
All the information is being coordinated on a national database called Welcome to Flu Zone, which tracks how the UK moved from attempts at containment to a policy of mitigating the effects of the virus on those most vulnerable to it.
In Australia, with the flu season well underway, a policy of containment has been quickly abandoned in the face of a pressing need for treatment as cases increase. In makeshift medical centres, doctors are taking samples from people turning up sick and the virus is spreading fast.
A major concern is that swine flu will recombine in those with seasonal flu, thereby unleashing a far more virulent strain that might reach us just as schools reopen and the weather cools.