UPDATE with video: CNN Films will debut the documentary Unseen Enemy for World Health Day on April 7 with limited commercial interruptions. Narrated by Jeffrey Wright, the docu is written and directed by Janet Tobias, who embedded with some of the world’s top pathogen hunters and medical professionals for more than three years, tracking outbreaks of Zika, Ebola and influenza worldwide.
Tobias’ film makes the case that successful containment can be achieved with coordinated efforts of medical professionals, researchers, governments, communicators and the public. It documents two cases in support of her view. Epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant guides viewers through his decisions as he worked on the teams that forcibly vaccinated the last remote villagers against smallpox. Others argue the global spread of HIV/AIDS could have been stopped had governments and public health bodies acted more deliberately to inform the public. Brilliant warns there might be 30 emerging human pathogens that have the potential to become epidemics.
Check on the trailer above.
In addition to the premiere broadcasts, Unseen Enemy will encore at 9 PM April 15 and 2 AM April 16, with a short, CNN-produced companion special featuring CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper discussing existing vulnerabilities to disease outbreaks and tools needed to close the gaps in disease response.
Profiled in the film to demonstrate the wide range of expertise needed to defeat the next global health crisis are:
· Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer-winning health journalist who explains why flu is one of the world’s potentially most serious pandemics and also why public health authorities need to shift priorities to effectively meet the crises;
· Soka Moses, MD, a young Liberian physician who left his family to treat ebola patients at the height of the epidemic;
· Peter Piot, Ph.D., director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who helped identify the ebola virus in the 1970s and explains why the global spread of HIV/AIDS was not inevitable;
· Peter Sands, a global financier who explains what the next global health crisis could mean to global markets and geopolitical stability;
· Vanessa Van der Linden, MD, a pediatric neurologist who sounded the initial alarm about a rise in microcephalic infants following a zika outbreak;
· Gwen and Terry Zwanziger, parents of a teenager who died of flu complications.
Unseen Enemy is produced by Roger Lopez, Tobias, Peter Klein and Michael Ehrenzweig of Sierra/Tango Productions. Executive producers are Gupta; Paul G. Allen, Jody Gottlieb and Carole Tomko for Vulcan Productions; Amy Entelis of CNN Films; Sabine Rollberg; and Jeffrey H. Field. The supervising producer is Courtney Sexton of CNN Films.