October 30, 2023

Predicting the pathogen behind the next pandemic

Editor's Note

Scientists are focusing on the next group of pathogens that could cause a pandemic and are zeroing in on paramyxovirus—a family of single-stranded RNA viruses—The Atlantic October 29 reports. 

According to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, paramyxovirus is known to cause Hendra virus, measles, mumps, Nipah virus, and parainfluenza. On October 19, it was included on the list of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' pandemic pathogens to watch.  

Like coronaviruses and the flu, paramyxoviruses spread through the air, but they do not mutate as quickly and are more straightforward against which to vaccinate. Despite the hope that paramyxovirus would be easier to address, scientists say how they might mutate or become more transmissible is not fully understood and could pose serious health risks.


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