There’s nothing anyone can do if you catch the flu and there’s no one you can turn to.
But you can prevent a deadly pandemic by changing your behaviour and thinking more critically about how we interact with the world around us, a study suggests.
The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, highlight a simple but effective way to help combat an epidemic that has killed nearly 2 million people and left more than half the world without access to healthcare.
The researchers looked at how flu outbreaks are handled globally and how different countries respond to them.
What they found was that the most common response to a pandemic is for countries to make some sort of public health policy, with the government stepping in with funding to help people catch the virus.
In the US, for example, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health (DOH) jointly funded a research programme called the FluVirus Challenge, which aimed to develop a flu vaccine.
The researchers, led by the University of Texas-Austin’s Daniel Bekker, were surprised to find that when they looked at data from countries where flu outbreaks had not been a problem, vaccination rates had not dropped significantly.
“The vaccination rate for the United States, where flu was the dominant health threat, has actually risen over time,” Dr Bekkers said.
“We were surprised by that finding because we didn’t expect that to happen.”
The researchers found that the countries that had been most effective in responding to flu outbreaks were countries where the healthcare system was the most efficient.
In contrast, when they examined the countries where influenza was the primary concern, vaccination had dropped significantly, and healthcare spending was increasing at a slower rate than the rest of the world.
While the vaccine worked in the US for many people, it didn’t work well for those in the developing world.
“It’s a very expensive vaccine, but we were surprised that the vaccine didn’t stop the pandemic in most countries in the world,” Dr Jules Kupferman, one of the authors of the paper, said.
The results may be useful for people who don’t have access to basic healthcare in other parts of the developed world, like countries like the US.
Dr Bekchers said the results also could have a bearing on the development of vaccines in developing countries.
“A vaccine that works in the developed countries but not in the rest may be an option for developing countries,” he said.
“We think that vaccines are a big part of the solution, but also one of their big problems is that they can’t reach everyone in the population.”
The findings were based on a new study published in Science Advisions, and it is the first to look at how the flu virus spreads.
The study looked at the global spread of the flu in 2013 and 2014, when more than one million people died and millions more were infected.
It found that, over that period, vaccination coverage fell by 40 per cent, from 70 per cent in the UK to 45 per cent here in Australia.
“That was a huge impact, especially in the United Kingdom,” Dr Kupfeerman said.
Dr Kupfferman and his colleagues also looked at a vaccine that was designed to protect people against other types of viruses, like influenza.
“If you can make people immune to the virus, then they can protect themselves against other viruses,” he added.
“But they can still get the virus from other people.”
The study shows that the effectiveness of the vaccine against other strains of flu is similar to that of a flu shot, but that the number of people who died from the pandemics spread was much higher.
“In the UK, the vaccine was only effective against the two major strains of influenza, H3N2 and H5N1, which are the two main viruses that cause the flu,” Dr Suresh Gupta, a researcher at the University and the University Health Network, said in a statement.
“However, this vaccine was not effective against a range of other strains, including COVID-19.”
The research suggests that people who have more information about the pandebuses can choose to vaccinate their friends and family.
Dr Gupta, who co-authored the study with Dr Bess, said the study showed that the vaccination campaign was not only effective, but could also be a useful tool for governments to respond to a crisis.
“Our research shows that people are very, very good at recognizing that their friends are vaccinating,” Dr Gupta said.
“They also have to understand that there’s a vaccine, there is no other vaccine, and they should make sure they have it.”
“In a lot of ways, we’re the vaccine,” Dr Vrinda Narayanan, another co-author, said about the study.
“And we have this vaccine that is available to everyone and we should use it to prevent another pandemic.”
Dr Bess said that