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WHO expert to edit first international influenza title as pandemic fears grow


One of the world’s leading flu experts, Alan Hampson, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Pandemic Influenza Taskforce and advisor to the Australian Government, is to edit the first international journal dedicated to the subject.

He has been appointed Editor of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, which is being launched by Blackwell Publishing amid growing international concerns about the possibility of an influenza pandemic.

“Alan Hampson is an ideal choice, as he is a WHO Expert Advisor on influenza and was, until recently, Deputy Director and operational head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia” says René Olivieri, CEO of Blackwell Publishing.

“He is also an influenza advisor to the Australian Government, a Member of the Australian National Influenza Pandemic Action Committee and Convenor of the Australian Influenza Specialist Group.”

The development of influenza vaccines, how viruses are evolving and the scale of the global problem will be just three of the subject areas tackled by the first issue when it debuts in October 2006.

Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses will also cover a range of other respiratory viruses, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (commonly known as SARS), Respiratory Syncytial Virus and parainfluenza viruses.

The journal is being published on behalf of the UK-based International Society for Influenza and other Respiratory Diseases (ISIRV), which was established in September 2005.

“There is considerable concern among experts working in the fields of influenza and respiratory medicine that there is an urgent need for international collaboration on research and development” says Alan Hampson.

“The development of avian flu and conditions like SARS have given added impetus to the very real concern about the potential risk of an influenza pandemic

“Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses will provide an international platform for information and discussion among experts who will help to shape international responses to any outbreak.”

The prestigious editorial line-up will also include Dr Geoffrey Schild, Chair of ISIRV, who has been appointed Deputy Editor.

Dr Schild is a former Director of the UK National Institute for Biological Standards and Control and a WHO consultant. He was also Chair of the European Commission Biological Working Party in Brussels for seven years and Director of the Medical Research Council World Influenza Centre for ten.

“ISIRV is delighted to be working with Blackwell Publishing to launch this journal, which will have a major contribution to play in bringing together international knowledge and expertise in these vital fields.

“The threat of a global pandemic cannot be underestimated and, while we do not wish to cause undue alarm, we must make sure that we are as well prepared as possible for any eventuality.

“That is why we formed the ISIRV last year and why we are so delighted to play a key role in this new journal.”

Annette Whibley | alfa
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