UC Davis has received a $100 million grant to continue researching viruses and how they are transmitted from animals to humans.
For the past five years, U.C. Davis has led research efforts in 20 countries and has documented about 750 new viruses in bats, rodents, and primates.
Tracey Goldstein leads the diagnostic and pathogen-discovery components of the research. She says the new grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development will fund five more years of research, now focusing much more on the spread of viruses to people.
"In some parts of the world, people still eat primates. So, they're hunting them in the forest, and then bringing them to their homes, butchering and eating them. Sometimes they go to the market and there's potential for more people to be exposed to them. And then in some parts of the world, people keep them as pets."
She says viruses can be spread in different ways.
"Eating sick wildlife is one of the ways the Ebola virus initially gets transmitted from animals to people. So, if we can better characterize what these risky behaviors are, we can then work with the different communities to try to decrease some of the risky behaviors to then be able to decrease disease transmission."
Goldstein says their findings for the past five years will be presented to the federal government next month.