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August 19th, 2011
03:47 PM ET

TEDMED: Journey inside the world of viruses

The way that humans and animals have interrelated throughout history has influenced how viruses have been transmitted to our species, and how those viruses (such as HIV and SARS, to name just two) can reach pandemic levels in our increasingly interconnected world.

But interconnectedness can also help us identify patterns of illness - namely, through the Internet. Already, there are tools such as Google Flu Trends that make use of this unprecedented wealth of personal data to gauge the prevalence of disease. Google Flu Trends does it by analyzing people's searches, but there are many other ways that we can take advantage of digital connections to target affected populations.

Nathan Wolfe, director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, takes us on a tour through how viruses get transmitted and what we can do about it. He gave this presentation at TEDMED in October. His organization's mission is to detect pandemics early, and to stop them before they spread.

TEDMED is an annual event that brings together dozens of luminaries from a variety of fields to "demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and health care related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital." TEDMED 2010 took place from October 26 to 29 in San Diego, California.


soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. T from NYC

    Terror Alarm, you've got some serious issues. I read this article to see TED's take on epidemiology – not see some neurotic ranting. Go copy and paste your post elsewhere

    August 19, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. My opinion

    I listened to this for 17 plus minutes. All he said is that the more people that we have on earth and the more contact we have with one another, the greater the risk of viruses being spread. So what's new?

    August 20, 2011 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lbado

      What's new? Well, he mentioned in his speech that technology can help identify the outbreak of a pandemic and help isolate/stop it in its initial phase and how his group was currently creating a network of detection. Are you sure you watched until the end?

      August 20, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
  3. Roberto Valverde

    This can be prevented and RESOLVED totally.
    Medicines is a waste of MONEY, they don't solve anything and med are TOXIC.
    It is necessary to change the Health System in the World.
    All the Pharmaceutical Companies around the World are property of the VATICAN and Hospitals too.
    All the Medical Community is the BIG MAFIA and nothing of Illnesses can be solved with Meds.
    Visit: http://www.fundacionrobertovalverde.org and see what is the difference in Health Problem.

    August 20, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Booga, booga, booga.

      You're nuts.

      August 21, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • Naomi

      Tom, glad to see you here. Can you express any opinion except your meaningless bringing down of others with those unfamiliar vocab? I love you in Jesus.

      August 21, 2011 at 21:56 | Report abuse |
  4. Pray this Prayer

    The ILLUMINATION OF
    CONSCIENCE predicted by O u r L a d y in Garabandal in 1961 will take place soon to
    save the world.

    The Warning is taking place to:

    1. Prove to all that God exists.
    2 Bring everyone to J e s u s and the Way of Truth.
    3. To help save us before the final day of judgement by giving us a chance to ask for
    forgiveness for the sins we have committed.

    What will Happen?

    TWO COMETS WILL
    COLLIDE IN THE SKY.

    The sky will turn red, it will look like fire & then you will see a large cross in the sky to
    prepare you.

    Everyone over the age of 7 will experience a mystical encounter with J e s u s C h r i s t which will last
    anything up to 15 minutes.

    Pray this prayer to be prepared: Oh my precious J e s u s,embrace me in your arms and allow my head to rest upon your shoulders so that you can raise me up to your glorious kingdom when the time is right. Allow your precious blood to flow over my heart that we can be united as one.

    August 20, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JeffinIL

      What false prophet source are you getting this from?

      August 21, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
  5. Naomi

    The meaning of viruses to us is clear. Like the stars in the universe, it's God telling mankind that there are businesses going on outside of our own sphere. Mankind needs humility before the Creator God. We the Adamic race are too puffed up like the fallen angels. The atheistic scientists and those who listen to their philosophy are the most comical and pathetic thing in the universe. Americans became stupid and bad after becoming secular.

    August 21, 2011 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. cpu mod

    No matter if some one searches for his required thing, thus
    he/she desires to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over
    here.

    July 11, 2014 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.