Spillover! Virus Transmission from Animals-to-Humans

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations
June 17, 2020 Zoom recording via Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Jonathan A. Runstadler - DVM, PhD, Professor of Virology, Immunogenetics, Disease Ecology, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University. Runstadler Lab

Spillover, the transfer of viruses from wild animals to humans, is a by-product of hunting, wild-animal trade, and simply proximity of humans to wild creatures. But in today’s global community with its urban density and international travel, the transmission of spillover viruses is inevitable. To understand the transfer and infection process, it is necessary to consider the disease ecology: the interaction between humans and wild animal hosts. Dr. Jonathan Runstadler explains how spillover can cause pandemics in the modern global community, and why control of these viruses requires an understanding of the relationship between humans and these animal disease reservoirs. Dr. Runstadler will also discuss his lab’s participation in the innovative [One Health Movement] (https://onehealthinitiative.com/): “the concept that the health of humans is entwined with the health of animals and of the environment. The One Health and Evolutionary Medicine initiatives are forging collaborations between medical doctors, veterinarians, ecologists, environmental researchers and those in many other fields to describe the connections among environmental change, animals and human health.

Some background on Dr, Runstadler’s work