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News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Syra Madad Named to World Health Organization Technical Advisory Group

| Feb. 13, 2024

Belfer Center Fellow Syra Madad, Senior Director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program at NYC Health + Hospitals and Belfer Center Fellow, has been named to the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on the Responsible Use of the Life Sciences and Dual-Use Research.

Portion of a H5N1 description in a textbook

Feng Yu

Analysis & Opinions

Navigating the Complexities of Bird Flu (H5N1): Highlights from H5N1 Seminar

| Jan. 18, 2024

The recent Harvard seminar titled "Understanding the Threat of Bird Flu (H5N1)" brought together luminaries in the field, offering profound insights into the complexities surrounding the H5N1 virus. The insights shared by David Quammen, Dr. Carlos del Rio, Dr. Neil Vora and Dr. Syra Madad, not only deepened the understanding but also highlighted the urgent need for a multifaceted approach to tackle this looming threat.

FILE - A health worker administers a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic in Reading, Pa., Sept. 14, 2021.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Navigating Through This Season's COVID-19, Influenza and RSV Surge

| Jan. 10, 2024

As we navigate through another season marked by the co-circulation of multiple respiratory viruses, it's crucial to recognize the progress we've made and the resources at our disposal. Unfortunately, only 19% of eligible Americans have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine and less than 50% received this year’s flu vaccine. With elevated activity for COVID-19, flu, and RSV, it's not too late to benefit from vaccinations and available treatments. The Swiss cheese model of defense remains a reliable strategy for reducing infection risks, and the government's expanded Home Test to Treat Initiative offers a valuable resource for managing COVID-19 and flu. As we adapt to this new normal, it's imperative to utilize these tools and strategies to safeguard our health and that of our loved ones, especially the most vulnerable among us. The fight against these respiratory viruses is a collective effort, and by staying informed and proactive, we can navigate this season more effectively. 

Wopke Hoekstra, European Union commissioner for climate action, speaks next to and Spain Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera during a plenary session at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

COP28 Health Day: A Watershed Moment for Climate and Health

| Jan. 02, 2024

Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it's a health crisis touching every corner of our cities and stretching to the farthest reaches of our planet. COP28 has acknowledged this by introducing the inaugural 'Health Day', integrating a crucial health perspective into the global climate dialogue. The groundbreaking 'COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health', endorsed by 124 countries, highlights the urgent need to fortify healthcare systems against climate-induced health challenges, ranging from infectious diseases and air pollution to extreme heat.

A nurse administers a Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine at an inoculation station next to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Blog Post

What’s Going on with COVID? And What’s BA.2.86?

| Sep. 07, 2023

The virus responsible for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) undergoes constant genetic changes as it mutates over time. This is normal and what most viruses do. Because of this, we do anticipate the continual emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. While some of these variants might appear and then fade away - think of the Delta variant which became the dominate variant in the late summer and fall of 2021 in the U.S. - others could increase, potentially taking the place of older variants.

Uganda's Minister of Health stands next to a box of vaccine labeled with World Health Organization Uganda on it

AP Photo/Hajarah Nalwadda

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

2022 Uganda Ebola Outbreak: Select Lessons Learned

| Apr. 17, 2023

On September 20, 2022, the Uganda declared an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus in the Mubende District. It was the country’s first Sudan ebolavirus outbreak in a decade, and its fifth of this kind of Ebola. In total during this outbreak, there were 164 cases (142 confirmed and 22 probable), 55 confirmed deaths and 87 recovered patients. Due to the Ugandan Government’s successful containment of the outbreak including with support from the World Health Organization and other public health partners, there were no documented cases of international transmission of the Sudan Ebolavirus. The outbreak was declared over on January 11, 2023, nearly 17 weeks after its detection.