Coronavirus, a respiratory illness, is perhaps the most well-known case of zoonosis, an infectious disease carried by an insect or animal. Zoonoses are not necessarily lethal, but they can be debilitating and difficult to treat. That is why science needs to continue to study these diseases in as much detail as possible to develop better vaccines, treatments, and prevention methods. The mystery surrounding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 has spurred scientists to research how close animals were to the source of the deadly coronavirus, and at the moment researchers debate whether bats or pangolins represented the source of the pandemic. But what if we could prevent zoonosis outbreaks in the future?
A recent study published by two biologists from the University of Idaho supports the vaccination of wildlife as a method to head off pandemics in the future. Infections from wildlife can be dangerous not just for humans but for all wildlife. Vaccinating enough wild animals to drive the infection out of the wild is easier said than done. To accomplish this, you must know where your potential hosts hide and must be ready to vaccinate when they are ready to hide again.
In order to achieve the complicated goal of vaccinating wild animals, scientists have proposed self-disseminating vaccines. The idea is that such a vaccine can be applied as a paste on one animal and it would transmit to others as they groom each other, thereby minimizing human intervention at the local level.
The second type of vaccine suggested by researchers is the transmissible one. With this vaccine, animals would in fact be infected with a weakened form of the virus. The main advantage of this method is that its spread is not limited and it could reach a large number of animals in a relatively short time.