The flu season has begun in the Northern Hemisphere, and millions of people are about to get sick. Even in the 21st century, the flu virus is a formidable foe for scientists; they never know how bad the annual epidemic will be or how well the vaccine, which is updated every year, will work.
Why hasn't science stopped influenza yet? Can we develop a vaccine that protects against all flu strains—for life? Are better drugs on the horizon? And in the meantime, what does the season look like so far, and how can you best protect yourself?
Join us for a live chat at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 6 December, on this page to discuss science and the flu. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.
Kari Johansen is a pediatrician and a clinical virologist. She is deputy director of the influenza program at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in (ECDC) Stockholm, and an expert on vaccine safety issues.
Albert (Ab) Osterhaus is head of the virology department at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and director of the Dutch National Influenza Center. He has worked extensively on influenza and many other respiratory viruses.
Nicholas Kelley is a research associate at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota and the assistant project director on the CIDARP Comprehensive Influenza Vaccine Initiative.