Some infections come in repeated epidemic waves, others are new to human populations. A known human threat such as influenza may mutate or a new infection jumps the species barrier from animals to humans: recent examples include HIV and Ebola, and the historical example of plague. What happens depends on the route of transmission.
Methods for tackling an airborne disease like influenza are different from those for touch (Ebola), insect vector (Zika), water (cholera) or sexual transmission (HIV).
Christopher Whitty CB FRCP FMedSci is Gresham Professor of Physic (the term for medicine when the post was created in 1597) at Gresham College. He is also Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, the UK Government's Chief Medical Adviser, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health and Social Care and head of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
He still practices as an NHS Consultant Physician at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. He is involved in many day-to-day public health decisions for the UK.
He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was interim Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Science and Engineering Profession and was previously Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Before becoming CMO he was Professor of Public and International Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and was previously Visiting Gresham Professor of Public Health.
Professor Whitty has worked as a clinician and in public health and clinical research in the UK, Africa and Asia. He undertook his postgraduate training in epidemiology, economics and medical law.
The major cancers and their prevention and treatment are the theme for his second series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Physic.
Professor Whitty's lectures series are as follows:
2017/18 Chronic Diseases
2016/17 Bold Ideas in Medicine
2014/15, 2015/16 Medicine at the Extremes of Life
2013, 2014 and 2016 Imported Infections and Epidemics
All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Physic can be accessed here.