Experts Alert: Coronaviruses, Bats and Zoonotic Disease

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a photo of Scott Weese holding a petri dish

Prof. Scott Weese

With more evidence suggesting the new coronavirus spreading globally may have begun in bats, the University of Guelph has experts who can offer comment

The latest research suggests the original source of the new coronavirus was bats and that an animal sold at a market in Wuhan might have been an intermediate host that allowed the virus to evolve so that it can spread among humans.

Prof. Scott Weese, the chief of infection control at U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College, is available to discuss coronaviruses and how animal infections can “jump” to humans.

Weese is a professor in the Department of Pathobiology and an expert in zoonotic diseases, including those that are spread by bats. While he is not an expert on this particular coronavirus, he can discuss coronaviruses in general, which are a large family of viruses that circulate among many animals, including camels and bats.

Weese researches many areas of animal infection, including rabies, tick-borne disease, antimicrobial resistance and emerging diseases. In a recent blog post, he noted “there are many undiscovered infectious diseases lurking in the wild” and wildlife markets “bring lots of animals and lots of people together.”

He recently spoke to CBC’s The National about why bats are good at transmitting new viruses. He also recently spoke to CBCNews Online about the new coronavirus.

headshot of Prof. Amy Greer

Prof. Amy Greer


Prof. Amy Greer is a Canada Research Chair in Population Disease Modelling and explores the introduction, spread, dynamics and control of infectious diseases in populations.

She studies the mechanisms that lead to the epidemic spread of pathogens as well as the methods for identifying the best interventions and control strategies.

She can discuss many of the uncertainties of emerging infectious diseases and the dynamics that allow them to spread. Greer was directly involved in the federal public health response during the 2009 influenza (H1N1) pandemic.

Greer is an associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine at U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College.

Contact:

Prof. Scott Weese
jsweese@uoguelph.ca

Prof. Amy Greer
agreer@uoguelph.ca