|Acute infectious diseases are the leading cause of death in the developing world and the 3rd leading cause of the death in the United States. As globalization progresses and we become increasingly interconnected, disease transmission occurs faster, covers more ground, and affects everyone. Outbreaks are a profound threat to global health, economic development, and political stability, as they can escalate quickly without adequate preparedness. The adoption of a universal approach to disease surveillance and the ability to fully utilize diagnostic tools are the front lines of defense for effectively responding to emerging infectious disease threats.
The CII collaborates with institutions throughout the world on long-term projects and short-term emergencies. We utilize mobile diagnostic laboratories for immediate responses and process samples to accumulate data and explore the mechanisms by which microbes cause disease. With approximately 70% of emerging infectious agents originate in animals. CII investigators lead laboratory and field projects focused on monitoring viruses in wildlife and domestic animals in an effort to understand and potentially predict how and when a disease will jump (or spillover) from one species to another. We also investigate changes in habitats to understand viral evolution and the emergence of new pathogens. Pathogen discovery is how CII researchers are able to identify the next pandemic before it becomes a global threat. Understanding the disease source provides the foundation for developing diagnostics tools, treatment therapies, and vaccines. Our technologies allow us to culture known and novel pathogens, build assays to measure infection, and establish animal models for study of those disease mechanisms.