THANK you to Nicola Lewis, who is a King’s Ely parent and Professor in One Health Evolutionary Biology at The Royal Veterinary College, for being guest speaker at our Avicenna Society talk via Zoom on January 7th.

Professor Lewis spoke to students and staff about ‘Lessons Learnt from Influenza Surveillance in Animals and Implications for Human Health’.

Our Avicenna Society is for King’s Ely Senior students who have an interest in the medical and veterinary professions, and discussions will continue to take place virtually during lockdown!

Isobel Smyth, Head of Biology and Teacher of Physics at King’s Ely Senior, said: “Dr Lewis tracks the influenza virus through birds and other wildlife as part of her research. In her talk, students and staff learnt about how studying diseases in animals can be used to help select the appropriate vaccines to use for both human and animal populations. Mapping the variation in the RNA by outbreaks so that the most appropriate vaccine can be used was an amazing insight into this important work; the graphical interpretation made this work very accessible.

“The importance of water birds in the spread of influenza and why this particular disease mutates so often was the main focus of the talk but a wide range of other areas were covered. The migratory patterns of these birds and the shared habitats of different species act as super-spreader events in the bird population and other species. The corollary for humans and hub airports was stark.

“It was great to have so many students choose to join us after school for more screen time during the first week of online learning. We would all like to thank Dr Lewis for giving up some of her time to talk to us.”

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