Tufts University will lead a $100 million program to research and address zoonotic viral diseases that can “spill over” from animals to humans – such as SARS-CoV-2 – Tufts Now reported. The goal of the program is to reduce risk of infection and spread.
The five-year program, Strategies to Prevent Spillover (STOP Spillover), will involve wildlife and human disease experts from both Tufts and organizations across the globe.
The program “aims to enhance the capacity of local, national, and regional institutions in countries across Africa and Asia to understand factors that contribute to the risk of zoonotic spillover; develop and implement measures to reduce early risk of spillover and spread; and quickly identify and respond to spillover events.”
“The transmission of zoonotic viral diseases to humans can cost lives, disrupt economies, and create lasting human health and societal problems, as we’ve seen most recently with the impact of COVID-19,” said Dr. Deborah T. Kochevar, the STOP Spillover program director and Tufts faculty member.
She added that viral zoonotic disease outbreaks were “becoming increasingly frequent.”