2018 was a bad year for influenza. In the United States alone, 80,000 people died and nearly one million people were hospitalized as a result of the virus, according to the Center for
Disease Control (CDC). It was the worse year
since the last pandemic occurred in 2009.
While 2019 is thus far appearing to be less severe,
the impact of the ;u still remains large.
“We are calling the current season relatively mild,
but even a mild season causes a signi;cant number of
illnesses, medical visits,” said Nancy Messonnier, MD,
the Director of the National Center for Immunization
and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at the CDC.
“;ere have been 200,000 ;u hospitalizations so far in
2019 and more importantly 19,000 ;u deaths, and this
counts as a mild year. I think it’s really important that
we keep that in perspective, because this is what we
are looking to prevent.”
In addition to its severe impact on human health,
the ;u also has signi;cant economic costs.
According to Messonnier, the direct medical cost of
the ;u every year is almost 10 billion dollars.
“If you take into account the indirect cost—that is
moms who have to stay home with their kids—it is
closer to 87 billion dollars,” said Messonnier. “;is is
just seasonal ;u, let’s imagine the potential impact of
Messonnier recently spoke on the topic of ;u vac-
cines at the American Association for the Advance-
ment of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, held Feb.
14-17 in Washington D.C., as part of the scienti;c
session, “;e Quest for the Universal Flu Vaccine,”
along with Anthony Fauci, MD, the Director of the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,
Chief, Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Chief, Im-
munopathogenesis Section at the National Institutes
of Health (NIH); and Gary Nabel, MD, PhD, the
Chief Scienti;c O;cer and Head of North America
Research & Development Hub at Sano; Genzyme.