A new study has identified seven routes by which deadly human pandemics could occur and 161 options for reducing the risk. Dealing with such a complicated mix of potential sources of infection requires widespread changes to the ways humans and animals interact.
Compiled by a team of 25 international experts, the study considered all major ways that diseases with high potential for human to human transmission can jump from animals to humans.
It concludes that simplistic solutions such as complete bans on ‘wet markets’ or consumption of wild animals may be unachievable and are not enough to prevent another pandemic.
The findings have been submitted to a journal, but publication is likely to take several months. Given current debate and recent campaigning, the authors were keen to discuss their findings with science and environment journalists now.
Dr Silviu Petrovan, Research Associate in Zoology, University of Cambridge
Dr Amy Hinsley, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr Alice Hughes, Associate Professor, Centre for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Prof Andrew Cunningham, Deputy Director of Science, Institute of Zoology
Prof James Wood, Head of Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge