Pandemics have afflicted the planet since ancient times—the 400-BC Plague of Athens, for example. (Medical anthropologists now believe it was probably a form of typhoid fever.) But today, the ease, frequency, and volume of travel across borders give pandemics a greater range of proliferation—the spread of HIV being a case in point.
Monique Mansoura, SF ’12, director of policy and development for the Medical Countermeasures (MCM) franchise at pharma giant Novartis, helped build a multibillion-dollar program designed to prepare the world for pandemics. A public-private partnership between the U.S. government and Novartis, MCM was launched in 2001 after the 9/11 and anthrax attacks.
Headquartered near Kendall Square, the organization spearheaded national health security strategy and policy for programs that develop drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics in response to global health threats like influenza pandemics, chemical warfare, and radiation exposure from events like the Fukushima nuclear accident.