Author David Lane, COO, eProfiler Solutions Ltd. February 2021.
Given the debate and costs associated with future pandemic preparedness, we need to ask the question - are further pandemics likely to occur?
Leaving aside conspiracy theories and the development of biological weapons, one simple fact means that the world will see future pandemics - we share this planet with animals. Animals provide us with many benefits. Growing up on a farm I experienced first hand how many people work with and/or interact with animals daily. Animals provide food, livelihoods, sport, companionship and more for people across the world.
Animals carry harmful germs and sometimes these can spread to humans and cause illness - these are known as zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are caused by harmful pathogens/germs like viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Animals carrying these pathogens can often appear healthy despite the same pathogen leaving humans sick or dead.
Looking back historically, many of today’s human diseases are caused by microbes whose ancestors came from animals first domesticated by early humans. Biologists believe that the measles virus stemmed from canine distemper and rinderpest, an affliction of cattle; that rhinoviruses, agents of the common cold, came to us from horses; and that smallpox is a close cousin of cowpox. Of the more than 1,700 known viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that infect people, more than half either originated in or now come directly from animals -- the rest come from the environment around us, such as soil, water, and air. And of the 37 new infectious diseases identified in the past 30 years, more than two-thirds came to us from animals. COVID-19 likely jumped species in this way - and the next deadly pandemic to sweep the world could also jump species in this way.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a recent example of this. In the spring of 2003 this new and deadly viral illness swept out from China’s Guangdong Province and spread rapidly around the world before it was contained that summer. SARS originated in Chinese horseshoe bats, animals that are used for food and medicine in many parts of Asia, and was then “amplified” through the infection of civet cats, a step leading to a mutation that makes the disease transmissible to humans. The virus infected 8,098 people, of which 774 died—a nearly 10 percent mortality rate.
Leptospirosis (a bacterial disease spread through the urine of infected animals or through soil or water contaminated by infected urine) can cause a wide range of symptoms in humans, including high fever, vomiting, and even meningitis and liver failure.
A handful of deadly infectious diseases claim millions of lives worldwide each year: (1) lower respiratory tract infections, ~6,500k/yr (2) diarrheal diseases, ~1,600k/yr (3) HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, ~2,000k/yr (4) malaria ~400k/yr deaths, and most recently (5) COVID-19 ~1,000k/yr. Together, they account for nearly one-fifth of deaths globally. Several of these diseases have plagued humankind throughout history, often decimating populations with greater efficiency than wars. Despite advances in vaccines, antibiotics, et al, these diseases continue to kill, particularly in the developing world and its children - highlighting the implications of non-equitable access to affordable, effective health care in poorer parts of the world.
Scientist estimate that potentially 60% of know human diseases can be spread by animals - and 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.
The main mechanisms for spreading pathogens between animals and people are (1) direct contact with the body fluids, eg saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces of an infected animal, (2) indirect contact via common surfaces and habits, (3) bites, eg tick, mosquito or flea, (4) food, eg eating/drinking raw milk or undercooked meat and eggs or poorly cleaned raw vegetables - contaminated by an infected animal, and (4) water via drinking or contact with water that has been contaminated by an infected animal.
Imagine if we had universal, accurate and low-cost diagnosis solutions that could identify today’s known diseases in humans, animals, water, and plants. Imagine if, in the course of testing for known diseases, these diagnosis systems could capture new zoonotic diseases and their rate of spread and mutation? Once a new zoonotic disease or mutation is identified, all prior tests results could be revisited and the origin and spread understood.
This is the promise of eProfiler Solutions Ltd. eProfiler uses digital testing techniques based on physics applied to biology. It is one to two orders of magnitude cheaper, faster and more accurate than current testing. It can look for multiple diseases in one test. It can record results for as yet unidentified diseases and mutations that are then used to isolate what is new and to then retrospectively match prior test results to these new diseases and mutations once identified.
eProfiler provides a radical and transformative solution to one of the most urgent and economically compelling challenges of our time.
Find out more at eProfilerSolutions.com where you can also contact us. Or you can email Info@eProfilerSolutions.com to contact the eProfiler team.
This post was written by David Lane one of the founders and the Chief Operating Officer of eProfiler Solutions Ltd. eProfiler Solutions has exclusive rights to patented technology invented by its founder Dr. Vengadesh Periasamy and licensed from the University of Malaya. David can be reached at David@eProfilerSolutions.com.