Coronavirus Updates

The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19, is a type of zoonotic virus that jumps from animals to humans. Through its One Health Institute, 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.

This page collects information and resources related to the school and coronavirus.

Pandemic Prevention through the One Health Institute

How UC Davis is working to prevent pandemics:

One Health Institute COVID-19 FAQs

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.

Coronavirus Research

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 new COVID-19 tracking application. The new 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.

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.

Interviews and Articles

"On the Hunt for the Next Deadly Virus" National Geographic looks at how scientists are laying the groundwork to defeat “spillover” diseases featuring Drs. Jonna Mazet and Tracey Goldstein.

"The Virus Hunters" Smithsonian Magazine highlights the work of scientists who have been searching for potential human pathogens in wild animals long before COVID-19 featuring Dr. Jonna Mazet of the One Health Institute.

"Coronavirus: Black Market Cure for Cats with Feline Infectious Peritonitis is Illegal, but is Saving Thousands of Lives" ABC7 investigates the black market cure for a deadly feline coronavirus featuring Drs. Niels Pedersen and Brian Murphy.

"SARS-CoV-2: Why, When, and How to Test Veterinary Patients" DVM360 covers a recent UC Davis webinar panel discussion featuring Dr. Jane Sykes, chief veterinary medical officer.

"COVID-19 Drug ‘Remdesivir’ Concerns, Potential" Capital Public Radio interviews Dr. Niels Pedersen about his decades of research into coronaviruses.

A Much-Hyped COVID-19 Treatment Has a Weird Connection to Black-Market Cat Drugs” The Atlantic interviews Dr. Niels Pedersen about an antiviral almost identical to remdesivir that is widely available in China’s underground marketplaces, and is a game-changing treatment—that Pedersen discovered—for a different coronavirus in cats.

"Tiger King' Star Says America's Unregulated Zoos Could Be Putting Thousands of Tigers at Risk of COVID-19Newsweek interviews Dr. Jenessa Gjeltema, professor of zoological medicine and head veterinarian at the Sacramento Zoo, about precautions zoos have taken to protect big cats from COVID-19.

"Virus Researchers Cast Doubt On Theory Of Coronavirus Lab Accident" NPR interviews Drs. Jonna Mazet and Brian Bird about thoughts on the origin of the coronavirus.

"State Department Says Coronavirus Samples from China 'Critical' for Developing Vaccine; Experts Say That's Not the Case" CBS News interviews Dr. Jonna Mazet about what is needed to develop a potential vaccine for coronavirus.

"Livestock Have Pandemics Too" Historically, animal health officials in the western states responding to invasive foreign animal diseases have reported that disease control efforts are significantly hampered by industry’s lack of preparation. To help address this problem the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at UC Davis has been awarded a $560k grant from the USDA National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program to develop a collaborative partnership between the university, federal agencies, state agencies, and animal agriculture industry to increase preparedness on dairy farms and poultry raising facilities.

"Veterinary Medicine at the Forefront in the Fight Against COVID-19DVM360 features Dr. Niels Pedersen's research into the successful treatment of FIP (a coronavirus) with the drug remdesivir, now in clinical trials for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.

"Coronavirus and Pets: Bay Area Experts Offer Advice on Helping Animals CopeSan Francisco Chronicle interviews UC Davis veterinary behaviorist Dr. Melissa Bain about the mental strain your pet may be facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

"What Bay Area Pet Owners Need to KnowSan Francisco Chronicle interviews UC Davis veterinary behaviorist Dr. Melissa Bain about pet anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic and other items that may be affecting your pet's behavior.

"The Mystery of How a Tiger Caught COVID-19 Has Experts Chasing Their TailsWashington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle highlight a new study by UC Davis that shows human manipulation of wild habitats brings us closer to animals and assures virus spillover, making deadly pandemics inevitable

"Trump, Congress Scramble to Revive Virus-hunting Agency that Was Marked for CutsLos Angeles Times interviews Dr. Jonna Mazet on UC Davis' involvement in U.S. Agency for International Development grants, such as hunting down viral diseases like COVID-19 that spill over from animals to the human world.

"Coronavirus: Great Apes on Lockdown Over Threat of Disease" BBC interviews Dr. Kirsten Gilardi on Gorilla Doctors' efforts to protect mountain gorillas in the forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"UC Davis Researchers Launch New COVID-19 Tracking Application" UC Davis News covers Dr. Chris Barker's new web application that allows users to track COVID-19 cases and testing across the globe. The app offers a simple, intuitive way for users to track COVID-19 data at the country, state and county level.

"SVM/One Health Institute COVID-19 Response Town Hall Meeting Report" On April 9, 2020, faculty experts from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s One Health Institute and the California National Primate Research Center led a virtual town hall to present updates on the school’s COVID-19 response efforts. During the vibrant and insightful meeting, more than 400 faculty, staff, students, and friends of the school participated.

"COVID-19 Q&A: Protecting Pets and People during the PandemicDVM360 highlights a webinar featuring Dr. Jane Sykes, who gave a timely summary of what we know right now about COVID-19 and pets, and addressed vital questions about handling patients and advising pet owners.

"Stress During COVID-19 Can Affect Your Dog or Cat. Here’s What You Can Do." Capital Public Radio interviews UC Davis veterinary behaviorist Dr. Liz Stelow about the mental state of our pets during quarantine. Is our being home all day causing them to reach their stress threshold?

"Sacramento Zoo Ramps Up Precautions To Ensure Safety Of Animals Amid Pandemic" Fox40 Sacramento interviews Dr. Jenessa Gjeltema, the head veterinarian at the Sacramento Zoo and a zoological medicine specialist at UC Davis. Zookeepers are approaching their jobs a little differently amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Link Between Virus Spillover, Wildlife Extinction and the Environment" Christine Kreuder Johnson and the One Health Institute publishes a new study connecting infectious diseases to environmental change.

"Animals And COVID-19" Drs. Jenessa Gjeltema and Jane Sykes speak to Capital Public Radio's Insight With Beth Ruyak about the recent news that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo has been infected with the novel coronavirus, and prospects that COVID-19 is transferable between animals and humans.

"Trump administration ended pandemic early-warning program to detect coronaviruses" This Los Angeles Times article features Jonna Mazet, executive director of the One Health Institute in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, who served as the global director of PREDICT for a decade. She talks about the PREDICT project's work, which formally concluded in September 2019 and enrolled both epidemiologists and wildlife veterinarians to examine the types of interactions between animals and humans that researchers suspect led to the current outbreak of COVID-19.

"What Could Warming Mean for Pathogens like Coronavirus?" In this Scientific American article, Dr. Christine Kreuder Johnson and other scientists discuss the impact of rising global temperatures on the timing, location and severity of disease outbreaks.

"Information on Animals in Regards to COVID-19" A compilation of several media interviews with Dr. Jane Sykes, UC Davis' chief veterinary medical officer, discussing pets and coronavirus.

"DVM Student Helps Manage Coronavirus Outbreak at the CDC" Nicole Cady, Class of 2020, shares her experience as an Epidemiology Elective Program student at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta where she spent a few weeks involved in managing the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

"Coronavirus Update Following Weekend News of Spread" Capital Public Radio's Insight With Beth Ruyak interviews Dr. Tracey Goldstein regarding the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

Why coronavirus could have slipped into U.S. long before screenings, travel restrictions” In this Sacramento Bee article, Dr. Christine Kreuder Johnson comments on the detection and spread of communicable diseases

Feline coronavirus treatment could stop spread of COVID-19 in humans, doctor says” Phoenix Fox10 story interviews Dr. Niels Pederson regarding a type of drug successfully used in cats to treat coronavirus that could potentially also work in humans.

UC Davis Live interview with Drs. Tracey Goldstein and Christine Kreuder Johnson of the UC Davis One Health Institute. The interview covers information on the nature of coronaviruses and how they compare to other diseases, how diseases transmit from animals and humans, what constitutes a pandemic, and how the public should react. The interview also covers the role of veterinarians and the One Health approach in outbreak prevention.

"Coronavirus declared global health emergency: Here’s what Californians need to knowSacramento Bee article providing context on coronavirus in California and information on what the School of Veterinary Medicine does to prevent pandemics.

Coronavirus came from bats or possibly pangolins amid ‘acceleration’ of new zoonotic infections” Washington Post article quoting Professor Christine Kreuder Johnson on the prevalence of viruses in wild animal populations.

Coronavirus Researchers Are Using High-Tech Methods to Predict Where the Virus Might Go Next” Time article with Jonna Mazet discussing what is needed to identify novel viruses and prevent their transmission.

Coronavirus Cases Seemed to Be Leveling Off. Not Anymore.” New York Times article with Professor Christine Kreuder Johnson.

"A Smithsonian team discovered a new coronavirus. The story behind that effort shows what it takes to get ahead of potential pandemics.” Washington Post article using the UC Davis-led PREDICT program to illustrate the connection between wildlife and human viruses.

"Melting Glaciers and Thawing Permafrost Could Release Ancient Viruses Locked Away for Thousands of Years.Newsweek article quoting Professor Christine Kreuder Johnson on whether old viruses could reemerge as a consequence of global warming.