Integrating field and laboratory studies to better predict the next emerging zoonotic pathogen

Mar 6, 2023

Most emerging infectious diseases originate in wildlife.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and discovery of SARS-CoV-2–like viruses in Rhinolophus bats, reinforced the need to identify wildlife sources of zoonotic pathogens (pathogens that can be transmitted between animals and humans) and to forecast where and when ‘spillover’ to humans is likely.

The increase in available data and advancements into statistical modeling can be used to help predict likely wildlife hosts and to prioritize field sampling. However, determining how to best follow these species-level predictions into downstream insights on zoonotic spillover risk remains a challenge.

Published in the Lancet Microbe, Dr. Daniel Becker (University of Oklahoma) and Dr. Arinjay Banerjee outline the urgent need to synergize studies in the field and laboratory to better understand emerging zoonotic infections.

The article describes a proposed integrated pipeline of field and laboratory studies and how results could help refine mathematical models to better predict where and when zoonotic hosts are infectious and therefore more likely to transmit to humans.

Click to read the full article, Coupling field and laboratory studies of immunity and infection in zoonotic hosts.

For more information watch Dr. Banerjee’s recent TEDxUSask talk: It's in our hands to shape the future of emerging infectious diseases