The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the latest pathogen that “spreads” from animals to humans, but hundreds of thousands of other viruses lurking in animals can pose similar threats. Today, new online tools are ranking viruses by their potential to jump from animal to human and cause a pandemic.
Tool called Spillover effectEssentially creates a “watch list” of newly discovered animal viruses that pose the greatest threat to human health. Researchers are working on further research, monitoring, and risk reduction activities, including the use of open access tools by other scientists, policy makers, and public health authorities to develop vaccines and treatments before the disease spreads. I hope to be able to prioritize viruses for this.
“SARS-CoV-2 is just one example of thousands of viruses that can spread from animals to humans,” said Zoë Grange, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis, who led the development of SpillOver. .. University of California, Davis (UC Davis), Said in a statement.. “Before another catastrophic pandemic occurs, we need to not only identify, but prioritize, the threat of the virus with the greatest spillover.”
Approximately 250 viruses are known to be “zoonoses,” meaning that they have already spread from animals to humans, with an estimated 500,000 or more viruses likely to have spillover effects. Researchers wrote in a paper on the SpillOver tool published Monday (April 5th).In the journal Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences.. However, the chances of each virus leaping from animal to human are not the same. Therefore, researchers have created a “credit-like” score for the virus as a way to assess and compare the risk of the virus.
To calculate the score, the tool considers 32 risk factors associated with the virus and its host, such as the number of animal species infected by the virus and how often humans interact with wildlife in areas where the virus is detected. To do.
Researchers then used this tool to rank 887 wildlife viruses based on spillover risk. (Most of the viruses in the ranking have been newly discovered, but some are already known to be zoonotic diseases.)
The top 12 viruses on the list are known zoonotic pathogens, with Lassa virus in first place and SARS-CoV-2 in second place. Ebola virus Third. (The main animal host for Lassa virus is considered to be the rat, and the main host for Ebola virus is thought to be bats. The main animal host for SARS-CoV-2 is unknown, but the viruses are mink, lion, It is known to infect tigers.)
The authors said they expected this result (known zoonotic diseases are ranked high) and used it to validate the tool.
But given the current widespread threat to human health, why was SARS-CoV-2 not ranked first? Researchers said their tools rank the potential for future spillover events. Some important information about SARS-CoV-2, such as the number of host species to infect, remains unclear and may occupy the top spot as researchers learn more about SARS-CoV-2. The authors stated.
According to SpillOver information, the top virus among the viruses that are not yet zoonotic is coronavirus 229E (bat strain). It belongs to the same viral family as SARS-CoV-2 and infects African bats.Another top-ranked virus is the coronavirus PREDICT CoV-35, which is also Coronavirus Infects families and bats in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The authors say that SpillOver is a crowdsourcing platform that allows other researchers to provide data about viruses that are already on the list, add viruses to the list, and add new data. It states that the ranking may change.
“This tool goes far beyond the way we thought about virus ranking in the past and aims to initiate a global conversation that enables early identification of new threats through real-time scientific collaboration. “” Said Professor Jonna Mazet, co-author of the study. Said in a statement at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “Spillovers help us better understand the health threats of viruses and enable us to act to mitigate the risk of spillovers before a pandemic occurs.”
Originally published in Live Science.
Scientists say these viruses are most likely to cause the next pandemic:
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