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Next Pandemic Prediction: New Online Tools Rank the Potential of Viruses Infecting Humans

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Toronto-After the new coronavirus leap from animal to human and disrupted the world in the process, scientists are again with a new online tool to rank the virus’s potential for zoonosis. I’m trying to prevent it from happening.

Spillover: Virus Risk Ranking ”application Is an open source risk assessment tool developed by scientists at the University of California, Davis, and includes contributions from experts around the world.

According to a press release, this is the first web application to rank the risk of zoonoses spillover and the potential for a newly discovered viral pandemic.

“SARS-CoV-2 is just one example of thousands of viruses that can spread from animals to humans,” said Zoe Grange, who led the development of SpillOver as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis. Laboratory.

“Before another catastrophic pandemic occurs, we need to not only identify but prioritize the virus threats with the highest spillover risk. The SpillOver virus risk ranking tool builds a proactive solution. It’s a starting point for. “

Scientists use online tools to act as a “watch list” for newly discovered viruses, allowing policy makers and health scientists to “prioritize viruses for further characterization, monitoring, and risk mitigation interventions.” Said that it would be useful.

According to Grange, the government can see which viruses can pose a risk and filter by country to see which hosts the virus was found on.

In a telephone interview from Scotland on Thursday, she said, “They use that kind of surveillance list domestically to inform them of their illness surveillance, their prioritization within the government, and policy decisions. I was able to do it. ”

Scientists in addition to online tools Published research in journal PNASWe ranked the spillover effects of 887 wildlife viruses using data that tested more than 500,000 samples from 74,635 animals collected as part of the Virus Discovery Project and public records.

To do this, they are based on 31 major risk factors for the virus and the host, such as the number of species known to be infected by the virus and the risk of human interaction with the animal host. I created a “credit-like score”.

Risk factors can be divided into three major categories, including information about the host, virus, and environment, according to Grange.

“The reason we have so many risk factors is that they are so complex,” she explained. “One of them can’t spill the virus, it can be a combination of all of them.”

According to Grange, the tool is designed to be adaptive, allowing you to change, update, remove, or add risk factors as you learn more about the virus.

Ripple risk

According to their findings, the top 12 viruses on the list are known human pathogens, with Lassa virus at the top, followed by SARS-CoV-2, and Ebola virus at third.

The animal vector of Lassa virus is mainly rat. In the case of Ebola, the source of the animal is believed to be bats or non-human primates such as chimpanzees and apes. The animal origin of SARS-CoV-2 is still unknown, but has been detected in mink, lions and tigers.

Given that SARS-CoV-2 is already causing a pandemic, it may seem surprising that it ranks second on the list, but researchers say it’s better than other known viruses. I explained that it was because there was little data available.

“At the time of publication, there is still no important information about natural wildlife hosts that would allow the tool to more accurately estimate the SARSCoV-2 spillover risk, such as the number and range of geographic host species. The distribution of hosts, and the type of environment in which they live, “says the study.

Researchers said they expect SARS-CoV-2 to be ranked higher on the list as more information becomes available.

Anyway, scientists said the point of this tool is to identify viruses that haven’t caused a pandemic yet, but they could cause a pandemic in the future.

“This tool was designed for newly discovered viruses, so we introduced the zoonotic virus as a test for comparison,” explains Grange. “The zoonotic virus has already been transmitted from wildlife to humans, so I expected it to appear at the top.”

For viruses that have not yet been shed, there are two severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) -related coronaviruses detected in bats. SARS-related betacoronavirus Rp3 and SARS-related bat coronavirus RsSHC014. ..

The tool’s developers said rankings could change as more data was entered from other researchers around the world.

This web application allows scientists to provide data about existing viruses and use the “virus ranking” feature to assess the risk of new viruses.

“We actually make it more useful to others and an interactive kind of resource that allows the general public, policy makers and scientists around the world to see and interact with our results. I thought it should be, “Grunge said. “But not only that, they were able to do their own rankings and enter information if they found a virus.”

Researchers hope that this tool will initiate a global conversation about new viral threats and facilitate real-time scientific collaboration around the world.

“SpillOver enables us to better understand the threat of viruses to health and take action to reduce the risk of spillover before a pandemic occurs,” said UC Davis School, one of the authors of the study. Jonna Mazet, a professor of the Veterine Medicine, said. ..

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