Will we ever actually be able to predict and prevent the next pandemic? Forecasting viral emergence requires scientists to connect the basic building blocks of host-virus interactions with global processes like climate change and urbanization. Dr. Colin Carlson presented the work of the Verena Consortium, an interdisciplinary collaboration working to identify which viruses could someday pose a threat to health security, which animals host them, and where they could emerge—and along the way, building the largest open data ecosystem in viral ecology. In doing so, their work helps understand pressing questions like: Where did SARS-CoV-2 come from? Which SARS-like viruses should we start preparing for in the future? And how do we maximize the impact of that predictive work in global health and pandemic preparedness?
The Georgetown University Global Health Initiative (GHI) and Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security (GHSS) co-sponsored this event as part of the Global Health Security Seminar Series.
Dr. Colin Carlson is an assistant research professor at the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security. He is a global change biologist studying the relationship between global climate change, biodiversity loss, and emerging infectious diseases. His research program focuses on statistical methods for measuring and forecasting the global distribution and burden of neglected diseases (including anthrax, Zika virus, and helminthiases).