PerspectiveInfectious Disease

Sources of human viruses

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Science  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6414, pp. 524-525
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav4265

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Most emerging infectious diseases are caused by RNA viruses (1). Many of these that are newly found in humans have a natural mammal or bird reservoir; some are transmitted by arthropod vectors, such as mosquitos (2). If we do not know the reservoir host and/or vector, it is harder to identify individuals and populations at greatest risk of infection and to design an effective public health response. On page 577 of this issue, Babayan et al. (3) report their efforts to predict the reservoir hosts and vectors of human RNA viruses by applying machine-learning algorithms to virus genome sequence data.