5 March 2021
How epidemics start, spread and can be controlled was the highly relevant topic in the latest talk for the school’s Academic Lecture Programme
Former Queen’s girl Rebecca Barritt explored the fascinating science of epidemiology, taking listeners back into history to understand how epidemic diseases have come to be defined and responded to.
“History shows us that if we just sit and wait for a disease to take hold then we will be too late,” said Rebecca, in the lecture which helps form a key part of the preparation of Year 12 for university application and study.
“The message of epidemiology is to always be one step ahead of the disease and we have seen this with Covid. The Oxford team had a vaccine ready as early as January 2020 – before the disease had even made it to Britain. This was because they had based it on vaccines for previous diseases such as Ebola, flu and prostate cancer.”
Rebecca left Queen’s in 2007 to study a degree in biochemistry. Since then she has worked at Liverpool University and now is part of the education liaison team at Edge Hill University.
Rebecca’s talk was highly interactive asking her audience to suggest ideas about disease spread in cases such as the cholera that hit London in the 19th century.