Policy ForumInfectious Diseases

The Global Virome Project

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 872-874
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap7463

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Summary

Outbreaks of novel and deadly viruses highlight global vulnerability to emerging diseases, with many having massive health and economic impacts. Our adaptive toolkit—based largely on vaccines and therapeutics—is often ineffective because countermeasure development can be outpaced by the speed of novel viral emergence and spread. Following each outbreak, the public health community bemoans a lack of prescience, but after decades of reacting to each event with little focus on mitigation, we remain only marginally better protected against the next epidemic. Our ability to mitigate disease emergence is undermined by our poor understanding of the diversity and ecology of viral threats, and of the drivers of their emergence. We describe a Global Virome Project (GVP) aimed to launch in 2018 that will help identify the bulk of this viral threat and provide timely data for public health interventions against future pandemics.