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Spotting the next pandemic: prospecting or preparedness?

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IDPW06 - Future pandemics

Coivd-19’s arrival in the human population was inevitable.  There is a huge diversity of viral pathogens circulating in bats and other small mammals.  Three groups of people are exposed to them through their livelihoods: traders in the wildlife trade, the miners and loggers destroying tropical forests and those working in intensive agriculture.   The initial dynamics of novel virus in these three groups of people and their families determine whether novel viruses will spread into urban areas and from there to the rest of the world. This talk will fall into three sections: (1) Initially I’ll discuss ways to estimate the diversity of viruses with zoonotic potential and how this determines the risk they will spread from the initial crossover hosts into the rest of the human population.  (2) I’ll then briefly discuss some earlier models for how forest destruction changes the risk of transmission of viruses from forest species to those converting the forest or those living in the newly converted agricultural matrix.  (3) In the final section, I’ll develop some economic approaches that compare the cost of modifying the activities that increase risk of viral emergence with the current estimated cost of the Covid19 pandemic.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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