Population Health

January 13, 2022

UW partners with virus detection project to help prevent future pandemics

Image of a technician working in a labThe University of Washington has become a partner in the recently launched Discovery & Exploration of Emerging Pathogens – Viral Zoonoses (DEEP VZN) project led by Washington State University. The project is a five-year collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development with the purpose of researching and developing capabilities for identifying infectious diseases in wildlife that have the potential to affect human populations.

The DEEP VZN project plans to conduct research by collecting over 800,000 samples from wildlife in the U.S. and five partner countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The samples will be tested for previously unknown pathogens from viral families known for a high chance of animal to human transmission. This will allow researchers to detect the existence of known or new viruses, which will then be analyzed for their potential risk to animal and human health.

This project led by WSU will support increased knowledge of viruses and collaboration with other countries through their efforts to help support sustainable sampling and stronger laboratory programs in their partner countries. Gaining a better understanding of viruses and diseases in wildlife across the globe that have the potential to cross over to humans will likely prevent future pandemics and increase overall ecosystem resiliency.

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