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Researchers isolate a live SARS-like virus in bats

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. For the first time, a team of international scientists have isolated a live SARS-like virus from Chinese horseshoe bats and have proved that it can be transmitted directly from bats to people. Wildlife epidemiologist Jonna Mazet of the University of California, Davis, says this study, which she co-authored, validates their assumption that researchers should be searching for viruses that have pandemic potential before they spill over to people.

Mazet:            So, we're not just curing, we're trying to think about the health so there's more preventive and proactive action there. And so instead we want to know what might be out there. No pandemic has ever been prevented, so, we're in a position of trying to find new diseases before they develop and stop them and then if we do that, we're doing a great job, then no one will know, right? Because the pandemic will be thwarted.

Narrator:       Mazet is directs a new global early warning system called PREDICT, which is designed to identify potential pandemic viruses before they emerge. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.