Arun Kumhar, Ashrubindu Bhunia* and Dr. Beduin Mahanti


Super-spreading occurs when a single patient infects a disproportionate number of contacts. The 2015 MERS-CoV, 2003 SARS-CoV, and to a lesser extent 2014-15 Ebola virus outbreaks were driven by super-spreaders. We summarize documented super-spreading in these outbreaks, explore contributing factors, and suggest studies to better understand super-spreading. Emerging and re-emerging infectious viruses have always been a major threat to human health. In recent years in particular, the rise of Avian and Swine Influenza Viruses, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome- and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (SARS-CoV; MERS-CoV), Ebola virus, and most recently mosquito-borne Zika virus (Flavivirus), are becoming a global concern due to their pathogenicity, associated high mortality rate and socio-economical burden. These viruses mostly originate from animals but can cause disease and even death in humans (zoonoses). With frequent intercontinental travel and domestic living in high population density areas, the potential for these viruses to mutate, spread rapidly in human populations and because global pandemics is a major concern. Significant research efforts have led to the discoveries of complex intra- and extra-cellular signaling activation in host innate and adaptive immune responses to viral infection. Still, the immune system is often defeated by viral antagonistic proteins that suppress the host immune system resulting in immune evasion and diseases. Despite deeper understanding of the mechanisms of infection and of virus-host interactions, current therapeutic options remain limited. Furthermore, progress has been slow in the discovery of novel, next generation therapeutic options for many viral pathogens. This highlights the importance and urgency in the discovery and development of novel prevention and treatment strategies to combat ever mutating and emerging infectious viruses. Therefore, research in this area is of importance in preparation for sudden outbreaks and pandemics in the future. This topic aims to facilitate and strengthen our current understanding of the interactions between emerging infectious viruses and host immune responses, as well as insights into novel therapeutics that may be employed in the event of global pandemics.

Keywords: Virion, Outbreak, Pandemic, Ebola, SARS, MERS, COVID.

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