by Heather A. Hoyt, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Berwyn
It’s a doomsday scenario worthy of a movie: A virus spreads around the globe, killing millions and sending millions more to hospitals. Panic ensues, infrastructure breaks down and commerce comes to a halt.
But this isn’t a scriptwriter’s invention. Many scientists believe this nightmare is only a matter of time—when the next influenza pandemic hits.
No one can predict the timing and severity of the next pandemic. But the scenario that has scientists worried most involves the avian flu (also known as H5N1), which is especially virulent and could cause a severe pandemic. Migratory birds spread it, and humans have little or no immunity to it. China, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey have all reported cases believed to be caused by exposure to infected poultry.
Scientists are concerned that as the virus evolves, it will gain the ability to spread from one person to ...(register to read more)