More than 60 percent of infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals, and 75 percent of the emerging human pathogens are also expected to be zoonotic. HIV and Ebola are modern day examples of viruses that originated in animals and spread to humans.
Even though most zoonotic diseases are not as deadly as HIV/AIDS, all strain public health resources, and some harm a region’s economy and even threaten national security. The severity of the problems posed by emerging zoonotic disease is the focus of a new PBS film, Spillover: Ebola, Zika and Beyond, that premiered on August 3, 2016.
Programming at this year’s Animal Biotech Summit, Advancing One Health through Biotechnology, will look at how biotechnology can be used in emerging infectious disease surveillance and rapid diagnosis, while highlighting the flexibility biotechnology provides for treating, controlling and preventing these diseases. The 2016 Summit will be held September 21-23, 2016 in Bethesda, Maryland.
The “Emerging and Existing Infectious Disease” Session on September 21 consists of a strong line-up of experts, some of whom are featured in the new PBS film. Topics and confirmed speakers for this session include:
- Dennis Carroll, Director, Global Health Security and Development Unit, USAID – Dr. Carroll will speak about new genomic tools that allow public health officials to predict outbreaks and respond proactively.
- Eddie Sullivan, President/CEO, SAB Biotherapeutics – Dr. Sullivan will describe how animals genetically engineered to produce fully humanized antibodies could allow rapid production of large amounts of effective therapeutics.
- James Cummings, Senior Director, Novavax – Dr. Cummings will discuss Novavax’s promising work to create a vaccine against the Ebola virus.
- Haydn Parry, President/CEO, Oxitec – Mr. Parry will provide recent field trials results for genetically engineered mosquitoes. If successful, this strategy could decrease spread of diseases such as dengue fever and Zika.