UC-Davis to receive up to $75 million to track possible pandemics

UC-Davis to receive up to $75 million to track possible pandemics

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Oct 28, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Davis, Calif. -- No one knows when and where the next global human pandemic will occur, but a government foreign-aid agency expects it to start as an animal disease and is paying the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to help find it.

The school will be part of a five-year, possibly $75 million project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to monitor for and increase local capacity to find emerging animal diseases that could pose a threat to humans in “geographic hot spots” in South America, Africa and Asia.

Bats, rodents, and nonhuman primates will be a focus, along with ongoing tracking of H5N1 influenza in wild bird populations.

“To establish and maintain global pathogen surveillance, we will work directly with local governments and conservation organizations to build or expand programs in wildlife and human health,” says Jonna Mazet, DVM, PhD, director of the UC-Davis WIldlife Health Center within the One Health Institute at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The project is named PREDICT and is one of five parts in the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program. Other major components involve improving outbreak response, international laboratories and diagnostics, communication during outbreaks and simulations and field tests of national, regional and local pandemic preparedness plans.

UC-Davis’ partners in PREDICT are the disease research company Global Viral Forecasting, the Smithsonsian Institution, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Wildlife Trust.