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Alison Galvani

Expert Profile

Alison Galvani

Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Yale University
severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
spread of viral diseases
virus invasion of human immunity
disease epidemiology


Alison Galvani is an associate professor of epidemiology and ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University. She was a post-doctoral research fellow in the department of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. An expert on severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, Galvani believes the rapid spread of SARS indicates the potential for an epidemic reminiscent of the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. "Though SARS has a low mortality rate, it seems to have a high rate of secondary infections, which is what really determines how damaging a pathogen will be," she has said. "People should remember that the Spanish influenza in 1918 had a similar mortality rate but a high rate of secondary infections, and it killed 20 million people." She notes, too, that the Spanish influenza pandemic occurred when mobility was much more restricted and the world's population was about half that of today. On the other hand, she says, current public health measures are much better than they were 85 years ago. "The size of the epidemic will depend on how effective control efforts are," she adds. Galvani was co-author of a paper that appeared in the journal Nature about the evolution of the influenza virus and how human immunity determines the diversity of the virus.

Epidemiology & Public Health
P.O. Box 208034
New Haven  Connecticut  06520-8034
United States
Office Phone: 
(203) 785-2642, (203) 859-5548
Office Fax: 
(203) 785-3260


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