The 2009 flu pandemic was an outbreak of a new strain of H1N1 influenza virus, usually referred to as “swine flu“. First described in April 2009, the virus appeared to be a new strain of H1N1 which resulted when a previous triple reassortment of bird, swine and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus.
In an interview with the Wellcome Collection Jerram said.. “At the beginning of the outbreak I was diagnosed with swine flu. It was strange designing the sculpture with a fever whilst swallowing my Tamiflu tablets every few hours. I remember there was a lot of speculation in the media whether the virus could wipe out a third of the global population. There was lots of different scientific imagery and diagrams flying around in the media. The reason I made the Swine Flu sculpture is because people care about it. What I’m doing is providing an alternative representation of the virus for the public to consider.”
In 2009, The Mori Museum, Tokyo exhibited this Swine Flu sculpture in an exhibition called Medicine and Art, with works from Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Marc Quinn and Leonardo da Vinci.