Author Robert Webster, Ph.D. is Today’s Honoree

In time for the start of the 2018-2019 United States flu season and the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, famed virologist and international flu expert Robert Webster, Ph.D., has published a new book chronicling a lifetime of work in the field of influenza research, “Flu Hunter: Unlocking the Secrets of a Virus.

Webster is chair emeritus of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. St. Jude is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre forInfluenza and a National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.

Dubbed “Flu Hunter” by Smithsonian Magazine, Webster began his research in the field in the early 1960s and is among the first scientists to acknowledge a link between human and avian flu. His new book, Flu Hunter: Unlocking the Secrets of a Virus,” provides readers with a first-hand account of a lifetime of scientific detective work unlocking the secrets to one of the world’s deadliest viruses.

“Flu Hunter: Unlocking the Secrets of a Virus” also contains warnings to heed today, particularly during the 100th anniversary of the deadliest influenza pandemic in modern human history. It has been Webster’s life work to figure out how and why this kind of pandemic is able to spread rapidly across the globe with high levels of mortality.

Could a global flu catastrophe like the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic happen again?  Webster’s warning is clear: “It is not only possible, it is just a matter of when.”

Webster’s new book reveals some of the fascinating scientific work involved in researching the flu virus, including exhuming bodies of Spanish flu victims from Arctic permafrost in a search for tissue samples containing genetic material from the virus.

“’Flu Hunter’ chronicles the career of an outstanding global scientific leader.  It is a book that will appeal equally to students and scientists familiar with  the field, and lay readers. I heartily commend it to all.”

 – Lance C. Jennings, chair, International Society for Influenza and                other  Respiratory Diseases

“Flu Hunter: Unlocking the Secrets of a Virus” is published by Otago University Press and is available on Amazon:

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