EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health issues, and the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health announced a new strategy to identify the total number of wildlife viruses that could potentially cause emerging disease outbreaks that threaten both public and wildlife health.
Combining field investigations with a new statistical approach, scientists estimate that there may exist a minimum of 320,000 viruses awaiting discovery from mammals alone. With over three-quarters of the emerging infectious diseases originating from wildlife this research gives scientists an estimate of the number of viral agents that may eventually cause a pandemic.
Diseases such as SARS, West Nile virus, HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Avian influenza are all examples of a zoonotic diseases – those that originate in wildlife and are spread to humans. "For decades, we've faced the threat of future pandemics without knowing how many viruses are lurking in the environment, in wildlife, waiting to emerge. Finally we have a breakthrough – there aren't millions of unknown virus, just a few hundred thousand, and given the technology we have it's possible that in my lifetime, we'll know the identity of every unknown virus on the planet," says Peter Daszak, PhD, corresponding author and president of EcoHealth Alliance.
"Historically, our whole approach to discovery has been altogether too random," says lead author Simon Anthony, D.Phil, a scientist at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "What we currently know about viruses is very much biased towards those that have already spilled over into humans or animals and emerged as diseases. But the pool of all viruses in wildlife, including many potential threats to humans, is actually much deeper. A more systematic, multidisciplinary, and One Health framework is needed if we are to understand what drives and controls viral diversity and following that, what causes viruses to emerge as disease-causing pathogens."
EcoHealth Alliance scientists continue to work on the frontlines of viral discovery in emerging disease hotspots regions around the world focused at the intersection of the environment, health, and capacity building. EcoHealth Alliance is focused on understanding the environmental drivers of zoonotic disease emergence and promoting the conservation of all species.
"PREDICT has already discovered more than 240 novel viruses throughout the world in areas where people and animals live in close contact and depend on the same natural resources," says study co-author Jonna Mazet, PhD, director of the UC Davis One Health Institute and co-director of PREDICT. "That includes new coronaviruses, like the ones that cause SARS and the new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome."
The current study is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between 21 molecular virologists, ecologists, veterinarians, and mathematicians from institutions, including the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia's Mailman School; EcoHealth Alliance, National Autonomous University of Mexico, University of California Davis; International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka (Bangladesh); Princeton University; National Institutes of Health; and Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Bangladesh).
"To quote Benjamin Franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," says W. Ian Lipkin, MD, director of CII. "Our goal is to provide the viral intelligence needed for the global public health community to anticipate and respond to the continuous challenge of emerging infectious diseases." The study, titled "A strategy to estimate unknown viral diversity in mammals," appears in the journal mBio. Support for the research was provided by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the PREDICT Project.About EcoHealth Alliance
Anthony M. Ramos | EurekAlert!
Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News