Social Science Meets Biology: Indigenous People and Severe Influenza Outcomes. Lecture, 12 January 2023

Fundación BBVA at Palacio del Marqués de Salamanca. Paseo de Recoletos, 10. Madrid

January 12, 2023


19.00 – 20.30 CEST

Influenza pandemics are most pressing global threats to human life and security. The state of the art in medical, epidemiological and social science research on the extreme vulnerability of Indigenous people to severe influenza disease is carried out in silos, and the factors uniting the infectious disease experiences of Indigenous peoples across continents of the world are rarely considered in concert. Mamelund’s project will do the first interdisciplinary research project integrating genetic, epidemiological and social factors to unravel common factors for why Indigenous groups in Scandinavia, North America and Oceania are all highly susceptible to influenza, both in historical times and today. This project is also very timely and relevant as indigenous people also are extremely vulnerable towards COVID-19.

Prof. Svenn-Erik Mamelund

is Professor in pandemic studies, is president of the Norwegian Demographic Society and the head of Centre for Research on Pandemics & Society – An OsloMet Centre of Research Excellence studying the societal aspects of pandemics. He has been a leading expert on the demography of pandemic influenza for 27 years, especially influenza in Indigenous people in the Arctic. He has strong experience in translating research into preparedness policies and in building scenarios for health politicians during the 2009 pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. He also co-authored Norway’s first influenza pandemic preparedness plan in 2000 and has served as an expert at the ECDC (2018, 2022), WHO (2019) and UN (2021) meetings on community mitigation strategies for epidemic and pandemic influenza.