Can An App Predict The Next Pandemic?

Can An App Predict The Next Pandemic?

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

There are about 1.7 million viruses that afflict mammals and birds, and about half of them could potentially infect humans, just like COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola. But a team of researchers at UC Davis are attempting to help prevent another pandemic from disrupting the world, by creating an app called SpillOver.

Why this Matters:  The scientists creating the app believe that by creating a prioritized watchlist of viruses, we can better have improved detection and thus reduce the risk of disease transmission and maybe even preemptively develop vaccines, therapeutics, and public education campaigns for the viruses that pose the greatest risk.

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Bats Struggling to Cope With Extreme Heat

Bats Struggling to Cope With Extreme Heat

by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer As the world warms, it’s not just people who are feeling the heat. Bats are also susceptible to extreme heat, and overheated bat boxes can be “a death trap,” the Guardian reports. In the wild, bats move between rock and tree crevices in search of a perfectly moderated temperature. […]

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How Do New Diseases Like COVID-19 Originate In Wildlife Markets?

How Do New Diseases Like COVID-19 Originate In Wildlife Markets?

As Ferris Jabr explains in frightening detail in The New York Times Magazine, bats are “planets unto themselves, teeming with invisible ecosystems of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Many of the viruses multiplying within the bats had circulated among their hosts for thousands of years, if not longer, using bat cells to replicate but rarely causing severe illness.”

Why This Matters: The hunter, by snatching the bats from their cave and selling them as food, he gave the viruses inside the bats a whole new world to inhabit in humans. 

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One Fun Thing: Is DC Going Batty?

One Fun Thing: Is DC Going Batty?

Of course, it is — but not for the reason you think!  Washington, D.C. may not be a state (though it should be) but there is a proposal to name the “Little Brown Bat” as D.C.’s official “state” mammal. Bats have been the subject of much negative attention thanks to their connection to coronavirus, but […]

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Climate Change Greatly Increases The Risk That Ebola Will Spread

Climate Change Greatly Increases The Risk That Ebola Will Spread

According to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the climate crisis will bring a 1.75 to 3.2-fold increase by 2070 in the rate at which the deadly Ebola virus spreads from animals to humans and the risk that it would spread to the U.S. also increases.

Why This Matters:  The estimates of global deaths that will be attributable to climate change just keep going up. The climate crisis could, in fact, “halt and reverse” all the progress made in human health over the past century. 

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