Influenzer Documentary Series

Influence of the Stars: An Influenza Documentary

Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Influenzer Initiative presents Influence of the Stars, a documentary film featuring more than 30 experts across the spectrum of pandemic prevention and response as they define the risk posed by influenza to global health and security.

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When SARS-CoV-2 became the latest virus to shape human history, few people alive had witnessed global devastation from a novel infectious disease.

Influenza (named in 15th Century Italy for the influence of hostile stars believed to cause illness) has sparked several pandemics, including the deadliest ever, in 1918. Flu is poised to grip the world again—but we are not powerless against it. In our documentary, Influence of the Stars, more than 30 experts across a range of disciplines describe how influenza threatens global health and security. They explain how hard-earned lessons from the COVID-19 experience can—and indeed must—be harnessed to protect the world from the far greater threat of pandemic influenza.

Narrated by Chuck Nice, co-host (with Neil DeGrasse Tyson) of Star Talk Radio, Influence of the Stars features scientists including Michael Osterholm, Eric Topol, and Nobel Prize nominees Maria Elena Bottazzi and Peter Hotez; policymakers including US Global AIDS coordinator John Nkengasong, former CDC director Julie Gerberding, and former FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg; authors Laura Spinney (Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World) and Michelle Wucker (The Grey Rhino); and economists Andrew Lo and Mariana Mazzucato.

Explore the rest of this page for a full list of interviewees and partners, and related and behind-the-scenes content.

Featured experts, in order of appearance:

Alan Bernstein, PhD Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH

Laura Spinney Stacey Schultz-Cherry, PhD

Colonel (Ret.) Matthew Hepburn, MD

David Topham, PhD

Amesh Adalja, MD

Holden Thorp, PhD

Charlie Weller, PhD

Margaret Hamburg, MD

Rajeev Venkayya, MD

Lynda Stuart, MD, PhD

Kanta Subbarao, MBBS, MPH

Jonathan Heeney, DVM, PhD

Edward Holmes, PhD

Daniel Perez, PhD

Martha Nelson, PhD

Teresa Lambe, PhD, OBE

Moses Alobo, MBChB, MPH

Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH

Andrew Lo, PhD

Ab Osterhaus, PhD

Michelle Wucker

William Ampofo, PhD

John Nkengasong, PhD

Mariana Mazzucato, PhD

Peter Hotez, MD, PhD

Patrick Tippoo

Gerald Keusch, MD

Matthew Downham, PhD

Gagandeep Kang, MD, PhD

Cheryl Cohen, MBBCh, PhD

Martin Friede, PhD

Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD

Eric Topol, MD