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On the Lookout for New Pathogens

The US is bringing back a version of an emerging disease program it let lapse, the New York Times reports.

The Predict program started in 2009, but the program expired last year just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it adds. It notes the program fell under the purview of the United States Agency for International Development and trained scientists abroad to look for viruses that might affect people. Dennis Carroll, the creator and director of Predict until its closure, tells the Times it was ended by "risk-averse bureaucrats who were trying to divine what the Trump administration did and didn't want."

The Times now reports a new $100 million program called Stop Spillover is being launched by USAID with similar aims. The program is seeking expertise in coronaviruses, filoviruses, and other types of viruses that may generate novel pathogens and, according to theTimes, five of Predict's major grant recipients have banded together as a consortium to apply for Stop Spillover funding.

The National Institutes of Health likewise announced it is establishing the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study pathogen spillover.