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University of Nebraska Medical Center

Ecological countermeasures to prevent pathogen spillover and subsequent pandemics

Nature Substantial global attention is focused on how to reduce the risk of future pandemics. Reducing this risk requires investment in prevention, preparedness, and response. Although preparedness and response have received significant focus, prevention, especially the prevention of zoonotic spillover, remains largely absent from global conversations. This oversight is due in part to the lack of a clear definition of prevention and lack of guidance on how to achieve it. To address this gap, we elucidate the mechanisms linking environmental change and zoonotic spillover using spillover of viruses from bats as a case study. We identify ecological interventions that can disrupt these spillover mechanisms and propose policy frameworks for their implementation. Recognizing that pandemics originate in ecological systems, we advocate for integrating ecological approaches alongside biomedical approaches in a comprehensive and balanced pandemic prevention strategy.

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