a headshot of Prof. Scott Weese
Prof. Scott Weese

Prof. Scott Weese, Department of Pathobiology at U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College, spoke to CBC News Online about the coronavirus spreading in China and how it likely began in animals.

Weese, an expert in zoonotic diseases, said the majority of new infectious diseases have animal origins. The more humans interact closely with different species, the more the risk increases that a virus that once could only infect animals “learns” to infect humans as well.

This new coronavirus can spread from human to human, global health authorities have confirmed. Weese said it’s now important to also understand the virus’ “host range” – meaning those animals that it can infect — because “we don’t want to miss a potential source of an infection.”

Weese also spoke to CBC News’ The National about new research that adds to the evidence that this new coronavirus began in bats. The interview is below.

Weese is a veterinary internal medicine specialist and the chief of infection control at OVC. He researches many areas of animal infection, including rabies, tick-borne disease and antimicrobial resistance.