CII and Vietnamese Colleagues Partner to Track Disease Risk from the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Dr. Tracie Seimon, Molecular Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Center for Infection and Immunity and the Wildlife Conservation Society, spent two weeks of September in Vietnam as part of a PREDICT diagnostics training and sample testing effort.  PREDICT is a project of the USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats Program and aims to detect and prevent the movement of emerging infectious diseases between wildlife and people.

Dr. Seimon trained faculty, staff, and postgraduate students from the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Laboratory of the Hanoi University of Agriculture, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.  The laboratory is one of PREDICT’s main partner laboratories in Vietnam.

She introduced PREDICT’s Universal Positive Control and diagnostic protocols for screening wildlife samples for several PREDICT priority pathogens including Arenaviridae, Coronaviridae, Flaviviridae, Paramyxoviridae and Herpesviridae.  These types of viral families pose a threat to wildlife and have the potential to be transmitted to humans.  Samples were collected and tested from bears and civets that had been confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam.  This trade has been identified as one of the most important interfaces for transmission of infectious disease between wild animals and people in Vietnam.  The results of the tests will contribute towards a more detailed characterization of human-wildlife transmission risk.

PREDICT also provided the laboratory with much needed diagnostic equipment and made a preliminary assessment of their biosafety and workflow practices. 

The HUA Veterinary Medicine Faculty is now the first veterinary laboratory in Vietnam with the capacity to test for these viral families in animal samples.