From Protein to Pandemic: The Transdisciplinary Approach Needed to Prevent Spillover and the Next Pandemic

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Pandemics are a consequence of a series of processes that span scales from viral biology at 10−9 m to global transmission at 106 m. The pathogen passes from one host species to another through a sequence of events that starts with an infected reservoir host and entails interspecific contact, innate immune responses, receptor protein structure within the potential host, and the global spread of the novel pathogen through the naive host population. Each event presents a potential barrier to the onward passage of the virus and should be characterized with an integrated transdisciplinary approach. Epidemic control is based on the prevention of exposure, infection, and disease. However, the ultimate pandemic prevention is prevention of the spillover event itself. Here, we focus on the potential for preventing the spillover of henipaviruses, a group of viruses derived from bats that frequently cross species barriers, incur high human mortality, and are transmitted among humans via stuttering chains. We outline the transdisciplinary approach needed to prevent the spillover process and, therefore, future pandemics.



protein pandemic


Plowright, R. K., & Hudson, P. J. (2021). From protein to pandemic: the transdisciplinary approach needed to prevent spillover and the next pandemic. Viruses, 13(7), 1298.
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