Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×
Medicine Science

Sizing Up the Viral Threat 78

sciencehabit writes "Ebola, HIV, influenza, MERS. Plenty of animal viruses cause devastating diseases in humans. But nature might have many more in store. In a new study, U.S. researchers estimate that there are more than 320,000 unknown viruses lurking in mammals alone (abstract). Identifying all the viruses in mammals would be a huge boon to scientists and epidemiologists, Daszak says. If an animal virus begins spreading to humans, they could use the new sequences to quickly pinpoint its source. In the lab, they could study the newfound viruses to see which are most likely to jump to humans and then prepare vaccines or drugs, he says. 'It would be the beginning of the end for pandemics.' A complete viral inventory would also carry a hefty price tag: about $6.3 billion, the authors estimate. 'But you have to put that into perspective,' says Daszak, pointing to the 2003 SARS outbreak. That pandemic alone is estimated to have cost between $15 billion and $50 billion in economic losses."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sizing Up the Viral Threat

Comments Filter:

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb