Special Report - Emerging Viruses

Science on alert

©INSERM ©INSERM
©Institut Pasteur ©Institut Pasteur
©Institut Pasteur ©Institut Pasteur
©FAO/Arif Ariadi ©FAO/Arif Ariadi
©FAO/Arif Ariadi ©FAO/Arif Ariadi

 

With advances in molecular biology, hitherto unexplained diseases – especially haemorrhagic fevers – can now be attributed to viruses. Many of these viruses can be classified as emerging: recombinant or mutant viruses, viruses switching host across the species barrier or viruses spreading outside their traditional geographic areas.

Ecosystem degradation (often leading to vector proliferation), urbanisation in less developed countries and growing population movements are making emerging viruses an increasing public health concern. Poorly understood and often with no treatment available, the diseases they cause are ravaging tropical countries. With global warming they could potentially appear on our continent also. From epidemiological surveillance to new antiviral research – we examine European research in this area.

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