Mammal Virus Tally Seen Speeding Global Contagion Control

Mammal Virus Tally Seen Speeding Global Contagion Control

The mammalian world may harbor at least 320,000 viruses, scientists estimated in new research that aims to speed the control of new infectious killers. The tally, based on data collected from flying foxes in Bangladesh applied to the 5,486 known species of mammal, will help create a more systematic way of managing outbreaks, particularly those spreading from animals to humans, scientists from Columbia University and the EcoHealth Alliance wrote in a paper published today in the journal mBio. Zooneses, or diseases that transmit from vertebrate animals to humans, account for almost 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases including HIV, Ebola and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, the scientists said. “This is a real breakthrough,” said Peter Daszak, a study author and president of EcoHealth Alliance, a biodiversity conservation organization. “Instead of just sitting here and waiting for them to emerge and kill us, we want to be ahead of the curve and fight them before they even kill the first ever person.” Money spent researching disease threats would represent a fraction of the cost of fighting a contagion such as SARS, whose economic impact is estimated at $16 billion, the scientists wrote in the study. The cost of uncovering all viruses in mammals is about $6.3 billion, and expenses could be cut to $1.4 billion by limiting discovery to 85 percent of estimated viral diversity, they said, based on their extrapolation of results.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natasha Khan in Hong Kong at

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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