Ebola - The Worst Case Scenario?

Despite new commitments this week from the world's governments, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is not under control and will get worse - possibly much worse - before it gets better.  Experts fear the number affected will be in the tens of thousands, possibly even more. Laurie Garrett appears on CBC's Quirks and Quarks on September 20, 2014, expressing her fears that we're paying the price now for gutting our international public health capacity with cuts to the World Health Organization. The promise of a massive effort by many countries in West Africa may be too little, too late, to prevent the worst case scenario of a complete breakdown of social order and devastation to a whole region of Africa by this terrible disease.

Can An Experimental Therapy be Used to Treat Ebola?

Two Americans received an experimental treatment after they became infected with Ebola while working with patients in West Africa. Heinz Feldmann, chief of the Laboratory of Virology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and Laurie Garrett, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, discuss how the serum works and if it should be used more widely on Science Friday.

Full audio is available here, on the Science Friday website.

Laurie Garrett on Ebola

Laurie Garrett appeared on the BBC World Service to discuss what it means when the World Health Organization calls for "drastic action" to stem the spread of Ebola in West Africa, and why this epidemic is unique.

The Rise in Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

The development of vaccines has changed modern history by preventing diseases that once killed millions of people. But there have recently been outbreaks of childhood maladies thought to have been eliminated. Most Americans don't remember measles, because the disease was declared eradicated in the year 2000. But, from New York to California, recent outbreaks are reminders of the potentially deadly disease, due to a drop in the vaccination of vulnerable children. Laurie Garrett appears on a panel with Seth Mnookin to discuss this topic, in this episode of KCRW's To The Point with Warren Olney.

Listen to the full interview here

Contagion discussion

The ease and availability of global travel brings the threat of widespread contagion ever closer to reality. From time to time one of those diseases takes hold – bird flu, SARS and more recently, MERS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. In a conversation with Dr. Norman Swan, host of Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Health Report, and Gareth Williams, professor of medicine at the University of Bristol, Laurie Garrett answers the question, "How much of a threat do such epidemics actually pose and how prepared are we for a plague?"

Full audio available here.

Laurie Garrett – “Biology’s Brave New World”

Laurie Garrett talks with Tavis Smiley on the Tavis Smiley Radio Show about her Foreign Affairs essay of the same title, which says the practice of synthetic biology holds great promise for humankind—it could lead to anything from cleaner water to a cure for cancer. But unchecked, it could also lead to Armageddon.

Biosecurity for the Age of Redesigned Life

In this panel discussion on NPR's Science Friday , Laurie Garrett discusses the foreign policy implications of recent advances in synthetic biology. With the conversation focused on the iGEM competition, she praises the organization's emphasis on bioethics, but adds that one cannot assume those ethics will be translated to adult-run labs around the world.

Full audio available  here.

Cosmic Queries: Viruses, Outbreaks and Pandemics

Infectious disease expert Laurie Garrett is back to answer your questions about viruses. First, she describes two current outbreaks: H7N9 influenza, which killed 25% of the people in China who got it, and MERS-CoV, or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, a genetic relative of SARS. With pilgrimages like the Haj in October, MERS is a serious pandemic concern to the worldwide health community. Next, Laurie explains how viruses like Ebola and HIV jump from bats and primates to humans through “zoonosis” and why they’re so lethal when they do. She tells Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice how we’re developing human engineered microorganisms in the lab, including nanobot viruses, and a competition where high school students invent new life forms. All this, plus a fungus that turns ants into zombies, pathogens that spread via rain, the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement and, unfortunately, so much more.

Listen to the full interview here

Concerns as new organisms are developed in labs and kitchens

Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health at the US Council on Foreign Relations explains the conundrum of dual-use research of concern (DURC), in which the same experiments that allow scientists to understand pandemics can also create dangerous pathogens. Combined with advances in synthetic biology and increasingly affordable technologies such as 3D printing, there is the possibility for a true biology revolution.

Zombie Apocalypse (Part 2)

In this podcast from the Star Talk Radio Show, zombies take a back seat to real life viral threats, thanks to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett. She describes how governments and viruses don't mix, from the ongoing Russian biological warfare apparatus to terrorists targeting polio aid workers in response to CIA activities to the SARS outbreak and its fatal cover up by the Chinese government.

Listen to the full podcast here

China Bird Flu

Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations talks with VOA's Sarah Williams about the possibility that the recent deaths of pigs, ducks and swans in China may be related to a new strain of bird flu, H7N9.

Watch the video here

A crowded world: pandemics

This month the world reaches 7 billion people and as the world becomes more and more crowded and urbanised, we worry more about the whole intricate structure that is civilisation falling over.

The movie Contagion, which has just opened in Australia, plays on deep-seated fears about our crowded, interconnected world. How long would our society cope with the onslaught of a killer viral flu, it asks. But how likely is a lethal pandemic, and is it a matter of if, or when?

Bird Flu Threat

Scientists in Europe and the US have created a highly transmissible form of the potentially deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health on the Council on Foreign Relations, talks about the implications of this research.