AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Authorities have been warned about five virus families that could cause future pandemics. Here are snapshots of the diseases each can cause and why we should be worried.
Yang Jianzheng/VCG via Getty Images
If surveillance focuses only on diseases that have already emerged, we’ll remain behind the curve. Better prediction of future pandemics will need to integrate animal, planetary and human health.
For the lab leak theory to be true, SARS-CoV-2 must have been present in the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the pandemic started. But there’s not a single piece of data suggesting this.
Data suggests most of the time infection results in either no symptoms or very mild disease for cats and dogs. And the duration of their symptoms, if they get them, may be very short.
Electron micrograph of monkeypox virus particles isolated in 2003 in the United States from human samples (left, mature, oval viruses; right, immature, round viruses).
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner / CDC / AP
This is not the first time that the monkeypox virus has spread beyond Africa, its continent of origin. But the current epidemic is unprecedented for a number of reasons.
The strain of H5N1 bird flu identified in Canada, the United States and Europe can cause severe disease and high mortality in domestic poultry.
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Avian influenza virus — or bird flu — can infect domestic poultry such as chickens and turkeys, as well as wild birds. The H5N1 strain has been identified in Canada.
Cave inhabited by bats.
Scientists exploring the possibility of an animal origin for Covid-19 are still investigating the missing link between bats and human beings.
Following the global spread of COVID, there have been widespread calls for blanket bans on the consumption and trade of wild animals. But such bans may have unintended consequences.
REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
The fear that SARS-CoV-2 will evolve in animals and then spread back to us in a more virulent form is unfounded.
Xenotransplantation is the transplanting of cells, tissues or organs from animals to humans. Pre-clinical trials of organ transplant from pigs have addressed some of the technical barriers.
New developments in organ transplants from animals show promise. However, there has been no public engagement about a potential risk. It may streamline a pathway to humans for new zoonotic diseases.
The delay in finding definitive answers to how novel infectious diseases come about is not unusual. Look at what happened to our search for Ebola virus.
White-tailed deer are one of the few wild species that scientists have found to be infected with the coronavirus – at least so far.
Scientists have been testing captive and wild animals for the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Only a few wild species are known to carry the virus, but many more have been shown to be susceptible.
Rift Valley Fever virus, 3D illustration.
Manufacturing is just one part of the vaccine ecosystem. It’s the health system that delivers vaccines and people must be willing to take them.
Amy Lee / Alamy Stock Photo
In a sample of white-tailed deer, 80% were found to have an active COVID infection.
It’s more evidence a lab leak is very unlikely.
Since the WHO’s investigation earlier this year, several papers have come to the same conclusion regarding the likely origins of SARS-CoV-2. Yet progress is too slow.
A recent Sage report discussed the potential for vaccination or slaughter of pet dogs and cats should a much more deadly variant emerge.
Wes Mountain/The Conversation
Don’t share your toilet with your pet, or treat your toilet like a flushable garbage bin. It could lead to dangerous diseases, and clog sewer pipes.
A security guard leads reporters away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a WHO team arrived for a field visit in Wuhan, Hubei province of China, Feb. 3, 2021. The team came to no conclusions about the origins of the pandemic.
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Gain-of-function studies make a natural virus more dangerous or transmissible to humans. Could the Wuhan Institute of Virology be the source of SARS-CoV-2?
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan.
The lab accident theory of the origins of Covid-19 has gained traction in recent months. We need a proper investigation to find out what really happened.