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Nathan D. Wolfe is Director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative and the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University
Center for Global Studies, Global Health Initiative
Current global disease control efforts focus largely on attempting to stop pandemics after they have already emerged. This fire brigade approach, which generally involves drugs, vaccines, and behavioral change, has severe limitations. Just as we discovered in the 1960s that it is better to prevent heart attacks then try to treat them, over the next 50 years we will realize that it is better to stop pandemics before they spread and that effort should increasingly be focused on viral forecasting and pandemic prevention. In this talk, virologist Nathan Wolfe discusses how novel viruses enter into the human population from animals and go on to become pandemics. He then discusses attempts by his research group to study this process and attempt to control viruses that have only recently emerged. By creating a global network at the interface of humans and animals his group is working to move viral forecasting from a theoretical possibility to a reality.