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 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.
UC Davis led the PREDICT program, a USAID-sponsored global pathogen surveillance project. PREDICT and PREDICT-2 ended work toward the end of 2020 after 11 years. Over the past decade, the PREDICT project positioned our partners to be crucial frontline responders and technical experts – training that was proved in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, PREDICT received $2.26 million in additional funding to assist our global network of collaborating laboratories in the initial detection of SARS-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), support national response plans to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, and explore our specimen archives to investigate potential wildlife source for SARS-CoV-2 and evaluate human exposure to SARS-related viruses. You may find the PREDICT-2 final report online.
Research & Response
Scientists have determined that where coronavirus variants emerge, surges follow. Dr. Bart Weimer and his graduate student Darwin Bandoy present their research in an article for The Conversation.
SpillOver, a new web application developed by UC Davis scientists, and contributed to by experts from all over the world, ranks the risk of wildlife-to-human spillover for newly discovered viruses.
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.