5 Viral Families That Could Cause the Next Pandemic, Experts Say

CSIRO has provided a comprehensive file Report On how to prepare for future pandemics.

The report identifies six key scientific and technological areas such as faster vaccine development and manufacture of wild-type vaccines to ensure supply, new antiviral drugs and ways to use the drugs we already have, better ways to diagnose cases early, analyze genomes, and share data.

It also recommends learning more about viruses and their hosts across the five most concerned virus families. These causes of disease may fuel the next pandemic.

We asked top experts what diseases they can cause and why authorities should prepare well:

1. Coronaviridae

COVID-19, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

first human Corona Viruses (229E and OC43) were found in 1965 and 1967, respectively. They were low-grade pathogens that only caused mild symptoms resembling colds and gastroenteritis. Initial understanding of this family came from studying related strains that commonly infect cattle or lab mice and that have also caused non-fatal disease. The HKU-1 strain in 1995 Again the ability to generate high levels of disease has not been shown. As such, coraviridae were not considered a major concern until severe acquired respiratory syndrome (SARS-1It first appeared in 2002 in China.

Its Coronaviridae The RNA genome is very long, encoding up to 30 viral proteins. Only four or five genes make infectious viral particles, but many other genes support diseases from this family by modulating immune responses. Viruses in this family mutate at a constant low rate, selecting changes in external height to allow virus entry into new host cells.

Coronaviridae viruses circulate in many ecological niches and are common in the species of bats that make up them 20% of mammals. Mutations in their bodies can spread to other mammals, such as civet catsThen to humans.

Coronaviridae Genome monitoring It shows a group of previously unknown virus strains that circulate in different ecological niches. Climate change threatens the intersections of these viral transmission networks. Furthermore, the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID) has sent new transmissions back to other species, such as mink, cats, dogs, and white-tailed deer.

Continuous viral evolution in new animal hosts and also in the case of weakened immunity HIV patients in under-resourced settingsrepresents a constant source of new variables of concern.

– Damien Purcell

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2. Flaviviridae

Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Zika, West Nile fever

The flaviviridae family causes many diseases, including dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Zika, West Nile disease, and others. These diseases are often non-life-threatening, cause fever, sometimes accompanied by a rash or painful joints. A small percentage of those infected develop severe or complicated infections. Japanese encephalitis can cause encephalitis, and the Zika virus can cause birth defects.

While all of these viruses can be spread by mosquito bites, when it comes to each individual virus, not all mosquitoes carry the same risk. there The main types of mosquitoes Participate in dengue and Zika virus transmission cycles, such as Egyptian temples And the Aedes albinoIt can be found near where people live. These mosquitoes are found in water containers (such as potted plant saucers, rainwater tanks), water-filled plants, and tree holes. They also love to bite people.

The mosquitoes that spread these viruses are not currently common in Australia; They are generally restricted to central and far north Queensland. They are routinely detected by biosecurity surveillance in Australia Airports and Ports. With the rapid return of international travel, the movement of people and their belongings may become an ever-increasing pathway for the introduction of diseases and mosquitoes into Australia.

A Sri Lankan health worker sprays insecticides to curb mosquito breeding earlier this year.
EPA / Shamila Karunaratne

Various mosquitoes are involved in transition For West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis. These mosquitoes are more likely to be found in wetlands and bush areas than in backyards. They bite people but they love it too animal biting Most likely it carries these viruses.

The Japanese encephalitis outbreak, a virus spread by mosquitoes among waterfowl, pigs and people, is an excellent example. Heavy rains and floods that provide ideal conditions for mosquitoes and these animals create a “perfect storm” for disease outbreaks.

Cameron Webb and Andrew van den Hork

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3. Orthomyxoviridae


Before COVID-19, influenza was the most common infection a favour to cause epidemics.

The influenza virus is divided into types (A, B, and rarely C and D). Influenza A is classified into subtypes based on the hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) protein variants on the virus surface. Currently, the most common influenza strains in humans are A/H1N1 and A/H3N2.

zoonotic infection It occurs when “influenza strains that primarily affect animals are transmitted to humans.

Usually produces significant changes in the influenza virus New groups Influenza viruses that infect birds, pigs, and humans. New strains have the potential to cause epidemics as there is little pre-existing immunity.

Someone throws eggs.

An Israeli worker disposes of chicken eggs to contain the spread of bird flu.
EPA/Atef Safadi

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, there have been four cases of influenza epidemicsIn 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. Among epidemics, seasonal influenza spreads throughout the world.

Although influenza is not as contagious as many other respiratory infections, its very short incubation period of about 1.4 days means that outbreaks can spread quickly.

Vaccines are available to prevent influenza, but they are only available partially protected. Antiviral treatments are available, including oseltamivir, zanamivir, peramivir, and baloxavir. oseltamivir decrease The duration of the illness is about 24 hours if it starts early, but whether it reduces the risk of severe influenza and its complications? Controversial.

– Allen Cheng

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4. Paramyxoviridae

Nipah virus, Hendra virus

Paramyxoviridae is a large group of viruses that infect humans and animals. The most well-known are measles and mumps, as well as the influenza virus (a common cause of diphtheria in children).

globally, measles It is a serious disease for young children, especially those who are malnourished. Vaccines are highly effective with the measles vaccine alone estimated To save 17 million lives between 2000 and 2014.

One group of paramyx viruses is of particular interest to pandemic planning – the arthropod viruses. This includes Hendra virus, Nipah virus, and the new virus Langia virus (In addition to the fictional MEV-1 in the movie Contagion). These are all zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans)

Hendra virus was the first Discover In Queensland in 1994, when she caused the deaths of 14 horses and their horse trainer. Since then, infected flying foxes have spread the virus to horses in Queensland and northern New South Wales. There were seven mentioned Human cases of Hendra virus in Australia, including four deaths.

Nipah virus is more than that Important globally. The infection may be mild, but some people develop encephalitis (encephalitis). Outbreaks occur frequently in Bangladesh, where it was the first the outbreak It was reported in 1998. Remarkably, the Nipah virus appears to be capable of transmitted From person to person through close contact.

– Allen Cheng

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5. Togaviridae (alpha viruses)

Chikungunya fever, Ross River fever, eastern equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis

The most common symptoms of illness caused by infection with alpha viruses such as chikungunya and Ross River viruses are fever, rash, and joint pain.

Like some flaviviruses, chikungunya virus It is believed to be spread only by Egyptian temples Mosquitoes in Australia. This limits the risks, for now, in central and far north Queensland.

Many different mosquitoes play a role in the transmission of alphaviruses, including dozens of mosquito species that are suspected of playing a role in the spread of alphaviruses. Ross River fever. Many of these mosquitoes Commonly found throughout Australia.

But what role might these native mosquitoes play if diseases such as eastern equine encephalitis or western equine encephalitis make their way to Australia? Given the ability of locally grown mosquitoes to spread other alphaviruses, it is reasonable to assume that they would be effective in transmitting these viruses as well. That’s why CSIRO . report Notes Future epidemiological preparations must work hand in hand with the biosecurity measures in place in Australia.

Cameron Webb and Andrew van den Hork

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