The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes the disease COVID-19. The virus is zoonotic, which means that it jumped from animals to humans. Veterinary researchers are critical in the understanding and prevention of zoonotic diseases, which are estimated to comprise 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people. Through its One Health Institute, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the foremost institutions working to identify and prevent the transmission and spread of these types of viruses.
UC Davis leads the PREDICT program, a USAID-sponsored global pathogen surveillance project. The program has received $2.26 million in additional funding to address the COVID-19 response. The project is continuing to provide technical expertise to support detection of SARS CoV-2 cases in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to inform the public health response, and is also investigating the animal source or sources of SARS CoV-2 using data and samples collected over the past 10 years in Asia and Southeast Asia.
UC Davis is a steering member of the Global Virome Project (GVP), which aims to detect and characterize nearly all unknown viruses from wild animals around the world. Instead of a reactive approach focused on response and controlling outbreaks, GVP envisions a proactive approach where we can develop new ways to prevent spillover to humans
UC Davis leads the USAID $85 million “One Health Workforce — Next Generation” consortium, which promotes global health security by empowering One Health University Networks in Africa and Southeast Asia to build the human resources and bolster the workforce for more effective disease surveillance and control.
Research & Response
Dr. Patricia Pesavento was selected to receive a seed grant from the COVID-19 Research Accelerator Funding Track Program. The project, entitled “An ex vivo rhesus macaque respiratory explant model to study cellular targeting and the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2” was selected for funding following a peer-review process and assessment.
UC Davis researchers have launched a COVID-19 tracking application. The web app features interactive maps and graphs, allows users to get a simple comparison of COVID-19 trends over time, and tracks COVID-19 cases by country, state, and county.
UC Davis researchers also created another tool to track California's COVID-19 cases by region. At the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the tool is being used to track metrics to better inform campus safety services and communications, but we believe the tool can be used for a wider audience as well.
Researchers at the Center for Immunology & Infectious Diseases, a joint research center sponsored by the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) and the School of Medicine (SOM), are working in high-level containment laboratories to grow SARS-CoV-2 to increase capacity in diagnostic testing and provide the virus for researchers at UC Davis and other institutions. This research would not have been possible if not for the existing strong relationships between the SOM and SVM.
As SARS-CoV-2 has spread around the world, its transmission rate has varied alongside variations in its genome. Bart Weimer, professor of population health and reproduction at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, is trying to establish if genomic variation in the virus is predictive of changes in infectivity. A preprint describing the work is available online, and the paper has been submitted for publication. Surveillance of the virus genome may help public authorities target areas about to experience an upsurge of infection.
Learn more about how UC Davis experts are contributing to the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic in these news articles and interviews or read the latest updates from Michael D. Lairmore, dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.