DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — A UC Davis laboratory that has been conducting early detection and tracking SARS-type diseases, like COVID-19, has now gotten an extension to keep conducting that research.
For the past decade, the UC Davis One Health Institute has been studying the SARS group of viruses, which now includes SARS-CoV-2 or the virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
“We’ve been working in 30 countries in Africa and Asia and sampling animals and people in what we consider high-risk interfaces,” said professor Tracey Goldstein, the associate director of the One Health Institute. “So places where they come in close contact with each other that might allow for spillover to occur.”
Now, Goldstein said they will be able to continue their work for the next six months as part of an extension from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“They wanted to make sure that we had funds and we’re covered,” Goldstein told FOX40. “And that’s what this extension is going to do to allow us to continue to support their efforts.”
Goldstein said one of their priorities will be tracking the virus through different species of animals, trying to determine which one originally contracted the virus.
“From animals that we think are a part of these bat families that potentially could have had the virus to see if we could maybe inform,” Goldstein explained. “So going back in time and trying to see if we could better pinpoint potential reservoirs, which, of course, is really difficult to do right now when you have a huge outbreak. And that’s what all the response is about.”
By doing that, she said it could help develop medicine for the treatment and, ultimately, the vaccine in humans.
“If we can find related viruses — they may not be the same one as this one but related ones — we could get them into pipelines with companies that are trying to develop maybe broader-based vaccines or broader-based therapeutics,” Goldstein said.