Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre


Science in crises – some communications dos and don’ts

Peter Griffin posted in on February 10th, 2017.

This week I had the pleasure of attending part of a University of Otago symposium on infectious diseases and gave a short talk on the role the media can play in communicating risk and uncertainty in times of crisis. It was a fascinating afternoon, capped off with an excellent public lecture by visiting expert Professor […]

Tamiflu review spurs debate over stockpiling

John Kerr posted in on April 11th, 2014.

A new analysis of withheld studies has questioned the usefulness of antiviral drug Tamiflu in the event of an influenza pandemic. The review, undertaken by the independent Cochrane Collaboration, examined data from pharmaceutical company trials involving over 24,000 patients. The authors of the report concluded that, while neuramidase inhibitors — a class of drug which […]

Expert briefing on H7N9 avian influenza

Peter Griffin posted in on May 10th, 2013.

UK SMC: As the number of human cases of avian flu continues to rise, China and its surrounding regions remain on high alert, and the rest of the world watches the developing situation with great interest. There is currently no indication of human to human transmission, but the severity of illness caused in many patients, […]

Dr Richard Webby on following the ‘flu

John Kerr posted in on February 15th, 2012.

Dr Richard Webby, a New Zealand virus researcher based in the US, this week gave a public lecture on influenza at the University of Otago Public Health Summer School in Wellington, explaining the research behind the major flu outbreaks in recent years. Dr Webby is the Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for […]

Suppressing data won’t stop threat of flu weapon – expert

Peter Griffin posted in on December 21st, 2011.

The New Zealand Government should not support efforts by United States regulators to suppress details in scientific reports of Dutch research which showed how a killer birdflu mutated to become highly contagious and easily spread in the air that we breathe,  says an Auckland scientist. The  highly pathogenic H5N1 virus changed through repeated infection of […]

Bioterrorism concerns over virus research – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on December 21st, 2011.

Scientists seeking to publish highly controversial studies on the avian influenza virus H5N1 have agreed to remove key details from manuscripts describing their work following requests from the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSSAB). This effective censorship of scientific research – including potential to create airborne contagions – has sparked debate over the […]

New Zealand scientists to study flu deaths

John Kerr posted in on October 5th, 2011.

Why do some people die from the flu and others don’t? New Zealand researchers have been awarded a grant from the US government to find out. Researchers from Environment Science and research (ESR), the University of Auckland the University of Otago have won a $9 million grant from the Unites States Centers for Disease Control […]

ODT: Swine flu still a threat here: Ministry of Health

Peter Griffin posted in on August 13th, 2010.

With a fifth suspected swine flu death in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health is warning that New Zealand is experiencing a second wave of the disease. Although the WHO has announced that the pandemic is over, the pandemic influenza strain is the predominant strain circulating this winter in New Zealand. An excerpt: (read in […]

PODCAST: Communicating in a pandemic

Peter Griffin posted in on November 13th, 2009.

The Ministry of Health’s strategic communications manager Spiro Anastasiou gave attendees at the Science Communicators Association conference an insight into the ministry’s response to the N1H1 pandemic. Click on the player below to listen to his presentation: [audio:]

Dr Paul Trotman: ‘Pandemic Panic’

Peter Griffin posted in on July 6th, 2009.

A recent article by Dr Paul Trotman proposes an alternative view on swine flu and its treatment in the media. Dr Trotman is a Dunedin doctor, health/medical columnist, and has also produced television for channels such as Discovery Primetime and Discovery Health. In his article ‘The Pandemic Panic’, published in the Sunday Star Times on […]

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