Interviews with Flu Experts

To assist in the centennial commemoration of the 1918 Pandemic, Defining Moments Canada Co-Founder, Neil Orford travelled to the United Kingdom, to interview three top infectious disease experts, each with authority in the 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ .  These interviews offer a remarkable multidisciplinary chronicle of the Pandemic – theories about its origin; insights into its spread; an introduction to several poignant stories from the outbreak; opinions about why it has been ‘forgotten’ by history and startling predictions about ‘the next pandemic and what we need to do to prepare for it.

These interviews took place over one week in November 2018.

Dr. John Oxford – Professor of Virology, Queen Mary College, University of London.

Dr. Oxford is an infectious disease expert on Influenza, and helped lead the 1998 expedition to Longyearbyen, Norway to find traces of the H1N1 RNA in exhumed remains of six Norwegian miners who succumbed to the Spanish Flu in 1918.

Dr. Mark Honigsbaum – Journalist, Writer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Wellcome Trust.

Dr. Honigsbaum, formerly Chief Reporter of the Observer, he has contributed articles for most British national newspapers and has made several documentaries for television. Mark is a lecturer at City University of London and the author of The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris. Along with Hannah Mawdsley, Mark co-hosted the Going Viral Podcast for the Wellcome Trust in 2018.

Dr. Hannah Mawsdley

While completing her AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD studentship, ‘Politics of Commemoration and the ‘Forgotten’ Pandemic ‘at the Imperial War Museum in London, Hannah joined Mark Honigsbaum to co-host the Going Viral Podcast for the Wellcome Trust. With an area of concentration on the evolving memory of the 1918-19 ‘Spanish’ influenza pandemic, Hannah contributed an article to Defining Moments Canada on the work of Richard Collier.

Other Content: Going Viral Podcast

Through collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, the Imperial War Museum and Blakeway Media Productions each expert was a participant in the ‘Going Viral’ Podcast produced in commemoration of the 100thanniversary of the Pandemic. Defining Moments Canada was granted permission to be the Canadian host for the Podcast – available at:

“The podcast is a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary examination of the pandemic, spanning molecular research, social history, and current artistic engagements. It features an extensive series of guest appearances by virologists, microbiologists, historians, writers, and others whose work has shaped our current understanding of the event. “ wrote reviewer, Dr Heather Battles (UAuckland) in 2018.