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UC Davis Database Aims To Prevent Next Major Pandemic

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UC Davis researchers are once again at the forefront of science with the creation of a digital database called Spillover that tracks diseases transmitted between animals and humans.

Video Transcript

- A safeguard against another virus. Tonight, UC Davis researchers are at the forefront of science. They're working on a database that tracks diseases transmitted between animals and humans.

- CBS 13's Laura Haefeli with how this could prevent the next global pandemic.

LAURA HAEFELI: Scientists at UC Davis built a database to track viruses that can spread between animals and humans.

JONNA MAZET: We're specifically interested in those highest risk for causing epidemics and pandemics.

LAURA HAEFELI: The system, called Spillover, is tracking the most dangerous diseases found in the world.

JONNA MAZET: Those that involve in wildlife. COVID, and it's actually number two on the top of the list.

LAURA HAEFELI: Number one is Lassa virus.

JONNA MAZET: Lassa virus is found in rodents so obviously a lot of opportunity for contact, especially in urban areas.

LAURA HAEFELI: COVID-19 is number two on the list, a virus carried in bats, followed by Ebola virus.

JONNA MAZET: Ebola is a great example of a virus that has spilled over and caused devastation, but the host was really looks to be a bat species as well.

LAURA HAEFELI: The point of Spillover is to recognize the diseases as quickly as possible and to get ahead of them.

JONNA MAZET: We can discover almost all, if not all, of the viruses that are available to spill over into people ahead of them actually causing disease and be ready.

LAURA HAEFELI: Allowing policymakers, agencies, and governments all over the world the opportunity to better protect communities through education.

JONNA MAZET: Washing your hands and not to touch dead animals, don't disturb wildlife, simple things like that.

LAURA HAEFELI: Jonna Mazet created the Spillover database and says it may mean the difference between freedom and the next global pandemic.

JONNA MAZET: I don't think that the next pandemic is inevitable, if we act. This has to be a wake up call. We don't want to be sheltering again for more than a year.

- Now, anybody could access this database and governments around the world can add potential viruses to the list.