The year of 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in human history, which took the lives of more than 50 million people. While there have been advances in mitigating the threat of pandemics since then, recent epidemics shed light on the major gaps in human and animal health systems throughout the world.
Recognizing the 100th anniversary, in November 2018, the Forum on Microbial Threats of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held two sister workshops to examine the lessons from influenza pandemics and other major outbreaks; understand the extent to which the lessons have been learned; and discuss how they could be applied further to ensure that countries are sufficiently ready for future pandemics. The first was a public, half-day pre-workshop event held on November 26, 2018, which highlighted the benefits and progress of driving science, public health, global governance, and cross-sectoral alliances for pandemic influenza preparedness. Building on the pre-workshop event, the 1.5-day public workshop that followed on November 27 – 28, 2018, examined the lessons from major infectious disease outbreaks and explored the extent to which they have both been learned and applied in different settings.