Want to worry about the next pandemic? Spillover.global has you covered

Researchers with Franceville interdisciplinary Medical Research Centre (CIRMF, Centre Interdisciplinaire Medical de Recherches de Franceville) collect samples from a bat on November 25, 2020 inside a cave in the Zadie region in Gabon. - Working in remote recesses in the hearth of the Gabonese forest, scientists scour caves populated by bats, animals suspected of being at the origin of many epidemics transmitted to humans in recent years: the SARS in 2003, MERS in 2012, Ebola and now SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus Covid-19. (Photo by STEEVE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by STEEVE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Enlarge / Researchers with Franceville interdisciplinary Medical Research Centre (CIRMF, Centre Interdisciplinaire Medical de Recherches de Franceville) collect samples from a bat on November 25, 2020 inside a cave in the Zadie region in Gabon. – Working in remote recesses in the hearth of the Gabonese forest, scientists scour caves populated by bats, animals suspected of being at the origin of many epidemics transmitted to humans in recent years: the SARS in 2003, MERS in 2012, Ebola and now SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus Covid-19. (Photo by STEEVE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by STEEVE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

We didn’t know about the SARS-CoV-2 virus until it showed up in humans. But previous experience with other coronaviruses that had jumped into humans (SARS and MERS) had told us that something like COVID-19 could pose a risk. Coronaviruses are prevalent in a number of species that have frequent contact with humans, and they have a clear history of being able to adapt themselves to human cells.

Being aware of which viruses have similar properties can help us recognize threats for future pandemics among the ones we find circulating in animals. Now, researchers are taking the results of a massive virus survey and releasing a public database of hundreds of viruses, all rated for how much risk the viruses pose to humans. And any viruses that we discover can be plugged into the framework they’ve developed so that we can get quick information on whether they’re threatening.

What’s out there?

The effort grew out of a USAID-sponsored program called PREDICT, which was part of a set of efforts focused on zoonotic diseases, those who can cross species barriers and infect humans. Collectively, the PREDICT project did a massive survey of animal viruses, taking over a half-million individual samples taken from 75,000 animals. Out of that data, the project identified over 700 new viruses and another that had never been seen in the animal in which it was found.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top