To effectively control emerging diseases, we must detect pathogens early and understand how they move between plants, animals and humans.

New pathogens are emerging at a quicker pace, sped by factors that include climate change, habitat destruction, human population growth, and global trade and travel. The majority of emerging pathogens are viruses, and most new human pathogens are viruses that start out in animal populations. The result: we are faced with an ever increasing number of diseases that come from viruses originating in environments where they were previously harmless or controlled.

By studying what makes virus transmission and infection possible, Ohio State can learn about how to contain disease. We discover how pathogens move from one species to another — the fundamental basis for “pathogen emergence.” We discover how viruses evade immune mechanisms, and either adapt to their hosts or cause disease. All this combining to understand how to both prevent and treat virus infection. 

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