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Current Projects

A Framework to Analyze the Pandemic Potential of Pathogens

Pandemic pathogens are often drawn from lists of known pathogens based on historical outbreaks, their pathogenicity, and expert opinion. In this project, the Center aims to create a new lens by which to view this problem by developing a framework to analyze elements of potential pandemic pathogens and provide a means to augment preparedness activities for human infectious disease emergencies.

The project team will conduct a literature review of prior work done on this issue and then move to distilling the essential features of historically high impact infectious disease outbreaks that nonetheless did not cross a global catastrophic threshold (e.g., Black Death, the 1918 influenza pandemic, the HIV pandemic, the tuberculosis pandemic). In addition, non-human major infectious disease events will be studied.

The team will inform and enhance its research through interviews with international infectious disease experts, paleontologists, physicists, virologists, astrobiologists, mycologists, and parasitologists. Once drafted, the initial new framework will be assed and critiqued by a group comprised of select interviewees and other experts. After the group’s feedback is considered and incorporated, the project team will publish a report describing the framework and brief leaders in the scientific, policy, public health preparedness, and national security communities.

Project team lead: Amesh Adalja, MD

Project team: Eric Toner, MD; Matthew Watson

Project supported by: Open Philanthropy Project