DATE: September 23, 2015 TIME: 9AM Pacific time, 12PM Eastern time
The majority of emerging diseases are infections with viruses that jump species barriers from wildlife or domestic animals to humans. The advent of molecular methods like high-throughput sequencing dramatically scaled viral discovery in humans and animals. Efficient and (nearly) unbiased discovery has expanded our understanding of the complexity of viral families, can inform individualized medicine, can quickly identify emerging disease, and even potentially can anticipate emergence. Many of these novel viruses are innocuous, so along with powerful discovery tools comes a responsibility in the medical research community to uncover viral pathogenesis and to clearly define associations, if present, with disease. Our laboratory has discovered novel viruses in multiple animal species, and utilizes a combination of tools, including RNAscope® in situ hybridization, to disentangle the complex host-pathogen interactions. In this presentation, we will consider the evidence for disease causality using novel persistent (papillomavirus), oncogenic (polyomavirus, circovirus), and acute cytolytic (astrovirus) viruses as examples. These studies have expanded our understanding of how and when viruses potentially cause disease, and demonstrate the impact and relevance of natural disease. Expanded consideration of the health of all animals is a balanced approach to world health.