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Penn Vet opens institute to study diseases spread from animals to humans

Is COVID-19 a zoonotic?

  • Scott LaMar
Some bats in this tunnel had less signs of infection from the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. Photo: Reid R. Frazier.

Some bats in this tunnel had less signs of infection from the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. Photo: Reid R. Frazier.

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Airdate: Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Saying that 75 percent of all newly emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic – meaning passed from animals to humans – the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has established an Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases. Is Covid-19 one of them?

Many, and probably most researchers, believe the virus came from bats and that humans may have come into contact with infected bats at a wet market in Wuhan, China.

There are other examples of zoonotic diseases – Ebola, Zika, swine flu, avian flu and West Nile virus to name a few from last twenty years.

Smart Talk examines whether covid-19 is a zoonotic and how these diseases are spreading.

Appearing on Tuesday’s Smart Talk are Christopher Hunter, PhD, Mindy Halikman Heyer Distinguished Professor of Pathobiology; director, Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases and Dr. Lisa Murphy, DVM, associate professor of Toxicology; resident director of the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System at New Bolton Center (Kennett Square, PA); co-director, Wildlife Futures Program; and associate director, Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases.

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