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FIVM Seminar Series: Using a One Health Approach to Reduce Pandemic Risk and Promote Global Health

PREDICT, A Project of USAID’s Emerging Threats Program

Dr. Tracey Goldstein, PhD

Most emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) affecting people originate in wildlife in various parts of the developing world.  Human and livestock population growth, along with land use changes infringing on wild habitats, bring people into contact with wildlife more often, and increase the risk of infectious diseases spreading.

Unfortunately, many countries lack the resources to detect and respond to these emerging infections quickly and effectively.

On Friday, April 17, Dr. Tracey Goldstein will discuss the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project, which aims to reduce the potential for infectious disease emergence and pandemics.

The project, led by the UC Davis One Health Institute and the PREDICT consortium (EcoHealth Alliance, Metabiota, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Smithsonian Institution), launched in 2009.  Since that time, the PREDICT consortium has humanely sampled more than 56,000 wild animals (primarily primates, bats and rodents) with human contact, and has detected 815 new mammalian viruses in addition to 169 known ones, including dozens closely related to known causes of human disease.

As well, PREDICT has played a key role in investigating the cause of human and wildlife disease outbreaks, including several caused by Ebolavirus and Yellow Fever.

Now in its second five-year phase, the project’s focus is on furthering the understanding of potential EID transmission pathways and the risk of viruses spilling over from animals to humans. Sampling of people and livestock is being conducted concurrently with wildlife sampling in areas with a high risk of wildlife/human interaction.

At the same time, human behaviors that increase risk for exposure to EIDs are being documented in order to inform recommendations for reducing the potential for disease emergence and pandemics. While core PREDICT objectives center on protecting human health, wildlife conservation benefits include improved diagnostic laboratory capacity and great governmental awareness and investment in wildlife population management.

Dr. Tracey Goldstein, PhD, is Associate Director and Professor at the University of California Davis, One Health Institute, where she developed and oversees the One Health Institute Laboratory and the Marine Ecosystem Health Diagnostic and Surveillance Laboratory. She is also the Co-PI and Pathogen Diagnostics Co-Lead for the viral emergence early warning project PREDICT, developed with the US Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) Program. 

Dr. Goldstein’s background is in Wildlife Molecular Epidemiology and in developing disease diagnostics to detect novel pathogens in wildlife. She focuses on solving global health problems using research, training, and capacity building.