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KCBS In Depth: Viral Pandemics

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco is at the forefront when it comes to keeping an eye on the terror threat posed by deadly viruses.

Dr. Nathan Wolfe, Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University and Director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, is known as a “virus hunter,” searching both out in the field and in the lab for signs of and ways to prevent the next big viral pandemic.

“Our job in life is to understand the nature of these microbial threats, whether they’re natural threats like pandemics or accidental threats and things like bioterror,” said Wolfe. “We work around the world on the nonprofit side of our company, we work to reinforce local capacity and develop leaders that are capable of responding to these everywhere around the world. The for-profit side of our work, is aimed at advising and working with providing data and intelligence to corporations and governments around the world to help them to understand these risks and respond more rapidly to them.”

KCBS Interviews Dr. Nathan Wolfe:

Wolfe said that his company is trying to search out new threats and using all the necessary and available tools to do just that.

“The niche that my organization fills is understanding things, catching them early and trying to move towards prediction and prevention of these events. When it comes to population levels, we still are at that point where we were in the 70’s when it came to individual level medicine,” said Wolfe. “We’re starting to recognize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Wolfe said that the goal remains to identify viruses as early as possible, which could change the scope of global health systems.

You can hear KCBS In Depth, a weekly half-hour news interview, Saturdays at 5:30a.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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