Next webinar 29 September (1600 CET)

Sushma Dahal, from Georgia State University, will present: “Investigating COVID-19 transmission and mortality differences between indigenous and non-indigenous populations in Mexico.” (Contact for a link.)

Globally, indigenous populations have suffered worse health consequences during the past pandemic, such as the 1918 influenza pandemic and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Not many studies have assessed the impact of COVID-19 among indigenous groups. Our team studied the mortality impact of COVID-19 among indigenous and non-indigenous populations in Mexico, the country with the highest indigenous populations in the Americas. The webinar presentation will focus on this study’s methods, results, and public health implications.

Study team: Sushma Dahal, Svenn-Erik Mamelund, Ruiyan Luo, Lisa Sattenspiel, Shannon Self-Brown, and Gerardo Chowell.

Bio: Sushma Dahal, MPH is a Second Century Initiative (2CI) Doctoral Fellow in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University (GSU), USA. She was a Fulbright scholar during her MPH studies at GSU. She has previously worked as an epidemiologist at Nepal Health Research Council. Her research interest focus on estimating excess mortality during pandemics, assessing the impact of health emergencies on vulnerable populations, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Next PANSOC Webinar on 22 September (1600 CET)

Nele Brusselaers, Antwerp University & Karolinska Institutet & Ghent University, will present “How science affected Covid-19 policy in Sweden.” (Contact for a link.)

The Swedish response to the Covid-19 pandemic has stood out from the start. Together with a group of scientists, medical doctors and a human rights journalist, we evaluated how science affected the Swedish Covid-19 policy during 2020. We tried to disentangle who was involved in the decision making and why certain decisions were made, putting everything in a socio-cultural and historical perspective. Our paper published in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications in March 2022 quickly went viral becoming one of the most-popular research outputs ever (nr 131 of 22 million articles ever on September 12, 2022, according to Altmetrics). This shows that the so-called Swedish approach is still a hot topic with very strong defenders and opponents in Sweden and abroad. In addition, I was also involved in another project comparing the health policy, epidemiology and economic consequences of the pandemic in the Nordic region (Irfan et al, Journal of Global Health 2022), the countries which are most similar to Sweden in almost all aspects… Sweden was clearly not the best of this class…

Nele Brusselaers is a Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at Antwerp University in Belgium (Global Health Institute), Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden (Centre for Translational Microbiome Researcher), and Guest Professor at Ghent University, Belgium. She completed her training as a medical doctor (2008), PhD (2010), master in infection control/hospital hygiene (2010) and first post-doc at Ghent University in Belgium (2012). Nele also obtained a master in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (by distance learning, 2015). Towards the end of 2020 she moved back to Belgium to combine her research in Sweden with a fulltime academic position in Belgium. Nele has extensive experience in clinical, cancer, microbiome and pharmaco-epidemiology by working with the Swedish nationwide health registries, several clinical (microbiome) cohorts and systematic reviews and meta-analyses, resulting in over 140 peer-reviewed articles. She has also been an active member of the Swedish Scientific Forum Covid-19, a group of independent researchers and medical doctors “that disseminates science-based knowledge about the major issues and challenges that the ongoing pandemic have posed to the world and our country”.

The PANSOC Webinar series returns September 15 at 1600 CET!

Kirsty Short, The University of Queensland, will present “Obesity and viral disease: lessons for pandemic preparedness.”

Obesity first emerged as a risk factor for severe viral infection in the 2009 influenza virus pandemic. This was then strongly echoed in the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we discuss how obesity increases the severity of respiratory viral infections and how we can improve pandemic preparedness given the overwhelming number of people who are overweight or obese.

Bio: A/Prof Kirsty Short is head of the Respiratory Virus Pathogenesis Laboratory at the University of Queensland. She investigates the pathogenesis of human influenza virus, avian influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Her work covers a broad range of topics including viral evolution, the role of host comorbidities in viral disease and the effect of age on the innate immune response.

Contact for a Zoom link.