The international science community is not doing enough to track the many avian influenza viruses that might cause the next pandemic, a UC Davis researcher says in today's issue of the journal Nature.
Global surveillance is critical for identifying and tracking potential pandemic viruses such as highly pathogenic H5N1. But the current surveillance strategy in wild birds is piecemeal and risks missing important virus sources or subtypes, Walter Boyce writes in a commentary.
Boyce, a UC Davis professor of veterinary medicine, is co-director of the $18.5 million Center for Rapid Influenza Surveillance and Research (CRISAR). The center, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is charged with tracking viruses in wild birds in the United States and Asia.
Addressing Nature's worldwide audience, Boyce says scientists must take several steps to catch avian influenza viruses before they catch us: