The spread of infectious diseases has become more rapid — and more expected — over time because of globalization, population growth and closer contact between humans and animals. That’s why we need to recruit and inspire next-generation Virus Hunters.
To do that, Abbott’s Pandemic Defense Coalition is bringing more trained Virus Hunters to the front lines. This first-of-its-kind, industry-led, global scientific network is dedicated to the early detection of, and rapid response to, future pandemic threats. It joined forces with the globally recognized Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET), which actively trains field epidemiologists in more than 165 countries to maintain a strong public health workforce.
“By developing the next generation of Virus Hunters to find, identify and monitor the latest viruses in diverse, under-resourced geographies throughout world, we can work faster and better connect scientists to raise the global alarm for future viral threats,” said Dr. Gavin Cloherty, head of infectious disease research at Abbott and head of the Coalition.
Making up a diverse class of geographies and projects, the trainees are researching top infectious disease challenges while being aided by mentors to bolster their scientific knowledge and skills. Studies will be conducted in seven countries, covering diseases such as Black Water Fever, West Nile Virus and Hepatitis C. Conducting field epidemiology research through projects like these is important for global health because it gives future epidemiologists the opportunity to learn by doing and to interact closely with the communities who are most affected by infectious diseases.
“The grants provided to each field epidemiologist in training are invaluable for their professional growth,” said Dr. Carl Reddy, director of TEPHINET. “Participating in Field Epidemiology Training Programs gives trainees a great opportunity to step into their critical role as a resource for public health systems.”