New app assesses the risk of viruses spreading from wildlife to humans

SpillOver is the first tool to assess wildlife viruses and their potential spread

among people.The open source application not only evaluates diseases that can be transmitted naturally from animals to humans, but also their pandemic potential. It is useful for health experts and policymakers to help prioritize them for further characterization, surveillance and risk reduction activities.

The tool is linked to a study published byin PNAS magazine. In it, the authors identified the most significant risk factors for the spread of the virus: its type, hosts and environment. Scientists then assessed the risk associated with 887 wildlife viruses using data collected from various sources.

Top 12 known pathogensperson, which confirms the usefulness of the assessment method. It is worth noting that SpillOver rated several recently discovered coronaviruses as more dangerous in terms of spread than those already known as zoonotic. This watchlist includes a new coronavirus, tentatively named PREDICT_CoV-35.

SARS CoV-2 is now ranked second out of 887 viruses analyzed - after the Lassa and Ebola viruses.

The authors point out that this may seemcounterintuitive given the current global scale of the pandemic. They explain that key information remains undisclosed about SARS CoV-2 and the risk of its spread, such as the number and range of its host species. As scientists learn more about this virus, it is possible that SARS CoV-2 will move to the top spot.

“SARS-CoV-2 is just one of many thousands of viruses in existence that can be transmitted from animals to humans,” concludes lead author Zoe Grange, who led the development of SpillOver.

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