Infectious diseases are responsible for at least 10 million deaths worldwide per year. Zoonotic diseases, which result from the spread of pathogens between human and animals, comprise more than 60 per cent of these infections. Given the public health and economic impact of emerging virus outbreaks, there is a critical need to increase preparedness in regions where these viruses are overrepresented.
Dr. Jason Kindrachuk, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Pathogenesis of Emerging Viruses, is studying emerging viruses that have the potential to impact global human and animal health and disrupt economies. He and his research team are combining traditional laboratory investigations with field-based surveillance and patient studies to better understand how emerging viruses move from animals to humans, the mechanisms underlying severe disease following this spillover, and the long-term health complications for patients who recover. Ultimately, their research will help us better prepare for these viruses and reduce the health and economic tolls of outbreaks.