PICTURE: Tufts University has been selected to run a multi-institutional USAID $ 100 million program to reduce the risk of zoonotic viral diseases that can be “spilled” from animals to humans. see more
Credits: Anna Miller / Tufts University
MEDFORD / SOMERVILLE, Massachusetts (September 30, 2020) – Tufts University will run a five-year, $ 100 million program to understand and address threats posed by zoonotic viral diseases that can spill over from animals to humans, such as SARS-CoV-2 , in an effort to reduce the risk of infection, intensification and spread, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today.
STOP Spillover strategies, building on Tufts’ deep expertise in One Health (interrelated human, animal and environmental health) and a number of related fields, will include wildlife and human disease experts from universities and organizations around the world. . The program aims to strengthen the capacity of local, national and regional institutions in countries across Africa and Asia to understand the factors contributing to the risk of zoonotic spillovers; develop and implement measures to reduce the early risk of spillovers and spread; and quickly recognize and respond to overflow events.
“Transmission of zoonotic viral diseases to humans can cost lives, disrupt the economy and create lasting human health and social problems, as we have recently seen with the impact of COVID-19,” said Deborah T. Kochevar, STOP overflow program director and faculty member at Tufts .
“Outbreaks of viral zoonotic diseases are becoming more common. In our approach, it is not enough to know what to do to reduce the risks of virus outbreaks. We must also work with partners to institutionalize knowledge in existing systems, adapt learning to local contexts and continuously expand new expertise. “, she added.
STOP Spillover will be conducted by Tufts University and a consortium of wildlife and human disease experts that includes: the Africa One Health University network; The Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University; OpenStreetMap Humanitarian Team; International Center for Diarrhea Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b); Internews; JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc .; Southeast Asian University Health Care Network; Tetra Tech ARD; University of California, Los Angeles; Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow; Global Center for Health Safety at the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and the University of Washington, of the Institute for Risk Analysis and Communication.
The Tufts University consortium will build on previous USAID programs for new One Health pandemic threats that include risk characterization and the development of behavioral change interventions based on environmental, environmental, gender, behavioral, sociocultural, economic, and political factors.
The program uses expertise from all Tufts schools in predicting, monitoring, preventing and eradicating infectious diseases; food and water safety and risk reduction; social behavior change; global health diplomacy; and One Health programming and education.
“Part of our mission in Tufts is to make the world a better place, and with this initiative Tufts and a number of coalition partners will make a lasting, positive impact on global health,” said Anthony P. Monaco, president of the university.
Schools and Tufts Centers involved in the program include the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Politics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Fletcher School, Feinstein International Center, and the Technical School.
About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford / Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the leading research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and prepares students for leaders in a wide range of professions. An increasing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration between faculty and students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in university schools is widely encouraged.
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