Annual Bat MigrationPhoto by Nick Garbutt / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic that’s currently ravaging the world started with a simple virus in an animal. Viruses like this, which can jump from animal to human, are called zoonotic viruses. They account for 75 percent of all the emerging diseases people grapple with today and are one of the most critical areas of study when it comes to protecting public health.

Epidemiologist Christine Kreuder Johnson knows that a virus carried by wildlife in any seemingly far-flung corner of the world can potentially threaten the health of humans globally. She studies how viruses in animals “spill over” into human populations as associate director of the One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis. “One Health” is a framework for thinking…

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