SARS-CoV-2 It clearly shows the world that undetected viruses may pose a threat to global public health. SpillOver is a new web application developed by scientists at the University of California, Davis and provided by experts from all over the world. It ranks the risk of spillover of newly discovered viruses from wildlife to humans.
SpillOver is the first open source risk assessment tool that can evaluate wild animal viruses to estimate the possibility of zoonotic spillovers and pandemics. It effectively creates a watch list of newly discovered viruses to help decision makers and health scientists prioritize them for further characterization, monitoring, and risk reduction interventions.
This tool is related to a study published in the journal PNAS in which the authors identified the virus, host, and environmental risk factors that are most relevant to virus spillage. The research team then used data collected from various sources to rank the risks of 887 wildlife viruses, including those detected by the US Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project, which was developed by the University of California Davis The One Health Institute of the branch school was led from 2009 to 2020.
Coronavirus ranks high
At the top of the list are 12 known human pathogens, which is expected and verifies the utility of the tool. Interestingly, SpillOver lists several newly discovered coronaviruses as having a higher risk of spillage than certain known zoonotic viruses. The watch list includes a novel coronavirus temporarily named PREDICT_CoV-35, which ranks in the top 20.
The power of this tool is that it is open source-the more data you enter, the more reliable the ranking. Currently, SARS CoV-2 ranks second among the 887 viruses analyzed, between Lhasa virus and Ebola virus.
The author points out that this seems counterintuitive given the devastation that the pandemic is currently causing on a global scale. They explained that the tool is ranking the possibility of another spillover that has occurred in history. In addition, key information about SARS CoV-2 and its spillover risk has not yet been discovered, such as the number and range of its host species. As scientists learn more about this virus, SARS CoV-2 may rank first.
Lead author Zoë Grange said: “SARS-CoV-2 is just one example of thousands of viruses that may be transmitted from animals to humans.” Institute of Health. “We need to not only identify but also prioritize the virus threats with the greatest risk of spillover before another devastating pandemic occurs. Our SpillOver virus risk ranking tool is the starting point for building proactive solutions.”
Virus “credit score”
SpillOver was inspired by the risk assessment used by banks and insurance companies. It looks at key risk factors and uses them to prioritize those viruses that pose the greatest potential threat to human health, thereby creating a “credit-like” score for viruses. Users can customize the watch list according to their own situation (for example, the country/region of interest).
Previous virus ranking tools were limited in the number or types of viruses analyzed and considered the smallest risk factors. SpillOver considers 32 risk factors related to viruses and hosts, including related environmental and human behaviors. It also includes 25 different virus families, from the coronavirus to the virus family that causes Ebola.
Rank your virus
SpillOver will generate detailed risk reports for each virus. Its “risk comparison” tool allows users to compare and contrast ranked viruses, and filter viruses based on a series of key attributes (including virus types, host types and detection countries).
As an open source tool, SpillOver provides a continuous platform to continuously rank overflow risks. Scientists can use the “Determine Your Virus” application to contribute data to existing viruses or assess the risk of new viruses.
“The tool is designed to trigger a global conversation, which will allow us to go beyond the way we think about ranking viruses and allow real-time scientific collaboration to detect new threats as early as possible,” said corresponding author Jonna Mazet. The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, the founding director of One Health Institute and the former global director of PREDICT. “SpillOver can help us deepen our understanding of the health threats of the virus and enable us to take action to reduce the risk of spillage before a pandemic catches fire.”
SpillOver attracts scientists who discover viruses to participate and enables them to collaborate in a “One Health” framework that not only focuses on virus characteristics, but also all situations where diseases appear in high-risk areas. This makes the tool a catalyst for the rapid identification and ranking of newly discovered viruses and their animal-human transmission interfaces.
This paradigm shift can promote early cooperation across disciplines and national boundaries. Identifying and ranking human health risks caused by viruses can help scientists identify critical control points and address human behaviors that expose humans and animals to the risk of new virus infections.
Reference: April 5, 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2002324118
The co-authors of the study include hundreds of people who have supported the PREDICT project in their national and national institutions, as well as core scientific leaders of virus emergence and global collaboration agencies, including the Wildlife Conservation Association, Ecological Health Alliance, Metabiota, Smithsonian Institute of Conservation Biology, Columbia UniversityCenter for Infection and Immunity.
The New Threat Project of the United States Agency for International Development provided financial support for this research.