I just learned that the US Agency for International Development, USAID, is pouring $125 million into an effort to seek out novel viruses in remote areas of the world. This is pretty much exactly what many scientists, including me, have been warning against for years.
The USAID’s announcement seems utterly oblivious to the enormous dangers posed by this program. Their own headline says they want to find viruses that could cause pandemics! The program, called DEEP VZN (”deep vision,” get it?) is funding scientists in the US and in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to venture (”deep”) into unpopulated areas of the jungle, and to find animals carrying viruses that might infect humans. They’re particularly interested in viruses that could cause the next pandemic.
What could go wrong? Oh nothing, says USAID and the scientists who are happily taking the $125 million in funding. They’ll be super careful! So we should all be pleased with how the government is preparing for the next pandemic. Source: Forbes