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Product title :

Viral discovery as a tool for pandemic preparedness

Author(s) : J.H. Epstein & S.J. Anthony

Summary :

Emerging diseases are frequently caused by novel or previously unrecognised zoonotic viral pathogens, which tend to originate in and emerge from wildlife. When human or animal cases are first recognised, molecular or serological diagnostic assays specific to them do not yet exist, causing a delay in the identification of an outbreak’s aetiologic agent as well as its source. Preparing for the next virus to emerge is a major public health challenge, impeded by a poor understanding of the diversity of potential candidates that exist in wildlife reservoirs. Characterising the diversity of viruses in key wildlife species will help to reduce the time between detection and response in an outbreak situation, and inform public health strategies that reduce the risk of spillover from animal reservoirs. Pathogen discovery techniques such as consensus polymerase chain reaction (cPCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) have been used to identify known and novel viruses in animals and humans, but have not been widely used in surveillance programmes. Metagenomic studies have identified novel viruses, new strains of known viruses, and have characterised host microbiomes.


One Health – Pandemic – Pathogen discovery – Polymerase chain reaction – PREDICT – Serology – Virus – Wildlife – Zoonotic virus.

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