Pandemic: A Horizon Guide

2009, Health  -   15 Comments
Ratings: 7.28/10 from 25 users.

This is a story played out in an era of unprecedented technical change in which new scientific advances have given us the tools to confront some of nature's greatest threats and where shifting national rivalries have shaped their implementation. It is also a story of the television age where each new wave of disease reflects the change in nature of reporting. Science's battle with pandemic disease is an ongoing power struggle and since its advent television has been there for every success and failure.

In March 2009 a new form of the H1N1 virus called Swine Flu, because of its similarity to a virus found in pigs, put the globe under the latest threat of a pandemic. H1N1 shows all the sinister hallmarks of a pandemic. It's a virus that's new to humans and to which we have no immunity. It can cause serious disease and it's transmitted from person to person over a wide spread area.

Today we're better equipped than ever to deal with such an outbreak. It is precious knowledge that has been hard won. Swine Flu is just the latest in a long line of pandemics, from smallpox to SARS - outbreaks that can spiral around the world at ferocious speed. This is the story of these diseases, seen through the lens of more that forty years of television. Although bacteria had been understood for centuries it was the advent of the electron microscope in 1931 that allowed us to see a virus for the first time.

It was the beginning of a relationship between discovery and communication. Television made visible what science could see. It would go on to chart every major scientific advance and it was during this time frame that we would learn more about disease than in our entire history. In the mid-twentieth century deadly microbes were one of the greatest threats to human health. But the desire to conquer illness sparked a birth of scientific creativity.

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15 Comments / User Reviews

  1. winter

    Hey, guess what? The polio virus caused aids. Check it out.

  2. Horst Manure

    One thing the World will never have is commonsense, there will never be a cure for cancer ,and other medical problems due to the money involved.
    New a disease is created like high Cholesterol levels so some big Pharma can sell more drugs.
    Doctors are trained to make sure every one walks out with a prescription.

    1. Cindy Duncan

      since when is high cholesterol a new disease

    2. MAllen Documentaires

      When its time to promote a new pill.

    3. susan g

      Sorry but you are wrong about implying that the reason there isn't a cure for cancer is because so much money is being made now with the treatments that are available. There are fortunes to be made for the people who come up with a cure. People will always get cancer, and cures would be used.

      Also you are implying that all the billions spent on research are for nothing. That is preposterous! The reason a cure for all cancers hasn't been found is because cancer isn't one disease. It' more than 200 very complicated diseases.

      The other thing is, people who are working on finding cures also get cancer as do their families and friends. To suggest that all those billions spent by research companies and the researchers, many who chose cancer research because either they, or someone who's important to them had cancer, are all doing this for nothing, is really evil.

    4. Horst Manure

      OK explains why the FDA and other bodies won't allow or let research take place looking at alternative medicine or ideas. Any one pushing an alternative is run out of town.

  3. 1concept1

    7, billion people on the Globe? A hundred years ago there were 1.5, billion of us on the entire Globe? At least a 500%, increase in our share of the goody's and at least a 500%, increase of waste dumped on the Globe on land air and sea.

    Better we have a pandemic then a third world war. With the pandemic we save the infrastructure?

    I mean can we keep circumventing the Deity/Nature's closed loop system with our own personal closed loop system? The longer i am in this form the more i realize i am not from here? I wouldn't need air conditioning, (personally i dislike it); Is it possible there was a "fusion" us with them?

    How's that old song go< "I'd rather drink muddy water and sleep outside in a hollow log", (a lot to be said for that), I was in the street once, for a year;

    deselation will traumatize you but the acceptance of deselation will set you free!

    From that moment on i was a child of the Universe and understood that in Real Time - No Time

    In retrospect I took a year off to defrag - no red slippers.

    You say what does this have to do with the video we just watched - a whole lot - depending on what corridor you want to take this and how far down that corridor you want to go.

  4. Paul Gloor

    Once again, the problem is too many people on the planet :P
    More opportunity to cross over, more hosts, more mobility, more virus, more mutations. Endless battle until we reach a sustainable population, find a cure-all or live in little bubbles breathing purified air.

    1. Scartera

      We already have the technology to provide for every man, woman and child on the planet. It's just not profitable to do it and THAT is the reason why we still have poverty and suffering.

  5. MAllen Documentaires

    Why does the film description say "scientific advances have given us the tools to confront some of nature's greatest threats" when most of the threats in the film were created in a laboratory by Scientists themselves?

    1. Janeen Clark

      your combining two separate trains of thought.

    2. MAllen Documentaires

      God forbid the students in school get caught doing the same. Instead we are taught listen to the teacher watch the film and don't ask questions that are off track.

    3. Cindy Duncan

      really since when is smallpox man created or cholera or polio geeze the brain level of folks are going down

    4. MAllen Documentaires

      Have you done any research? Although the polio virus itself is on the brink of extinction worldwide
      and many governments have been considering the abolition of vaccination
      against the disease, US researchers were able to add it to the list of "
      man-made" diseases in 2002 by “building” the first synthetic virus based
      on the genome of the polio virus. My comments are really of the infections we have today like

      Cancer.Swine Flu,AIDS,
      Pathogenic Mycoplasma,Polyplexes,Diabetes,etc....I haven't even mentioned the viruses the military has created like Lyme Disease and Anthrax

    5. James Miller

      Your another one of these conspiricy theorists,
      Anthrax may have been used by the U.S. military in China as they have the physical evidence but anthrax can be found in the soil,quite natural. Lyme disease,oh come on,get off the pot,your getting in deeper by the minute!