Searching for the Next Viral Threat

Searching for the Next Viral Threat


Author: Michael Penn    In:  Duke University School of Medicine 'Magnify: A Closer Look'

Gray and Wang are among a community of scientists who say we could do a better job anticipating new viral threats by paying more attention to the animals that harbor them. An approach known as One Health seeks to bridge the worlds of human, animal and environmental health by studying them as one interconnected system. If viruses aren’t constrained by the boundaries of the natural world, One Health argues, neither should our efforts to understand them.

“We have to treat viruses like a common enemy, politics aside, like fighting terrorists or fighting crime,” says Wang. “Interpol is an international organization to fight crime; can we have something like that to fight future viruses?”

Bold ideas have been envisioned before, only to vanish as threats fade and complacency sets in. Wang hopes this time will be different, and the lingering scars of the worst pandemic in a century will compel more proactive measures.

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