Videos: Speciesism and Animal Rights
Unknown Collaboration: Viruses
Nathan Wolfe
Related animals: Monkey, Viruses

Nathan Wolfe studies the early interface of viral movement known as viral chatter. This is the idea that we can study the movement of viruses from animals to humans and, thus catches them before they become completely adapted human viruses. He goes into the field and studies populations that have constant contact with wild animals and monitor and identify the viruses in the animals and the humans and how these viruses move from one species to another. Hunters are asked to collect blood from the Bush meat they catch and eat and Wolfe uses the specimens to map viruses. Bush meat is a huge issue where humans are eating animals that have viruses because of food instability and economic equality. Thus we cannot blame HIV on the Bushmen of central Africa who are bridging the viruses from animals to humans. Now, 10 years later they have discovered that if you look in the right place you can monitor the viruses coming into humans. Logging roads have allowed these viruses to move into urban areas and expand out of the rural tribes. The Global Viral Forecasting Initiative casts a wide net to watch viruses to prevent new viruses from getting to blood banks, sexual networks, and airplanes. I think this project if very interesting for our interspecies collaboration class because this type of collaboration enables a third party’s success. Humans eating wild animals allow viruses to move from one species to another. Unknowingly, humans and non-human species are continuing in a circle of life that creates new viruses that can cause unforeseen harm to a species. Though Wolfe’s work focuses on preventing epidemics in the human species, he is also helping other species because he is educating the public on the dangers of eating animals that have viruses that effect humans. His work may promote a world where humans are aware that eating a wild animal kills, hurts that species, but is dangerous to their health as well. In the end, predation, which our 130 class has talked about being a destructive interspecies experience, is collaborative for viruses which are also living organism and therefore could be seen as potential collaborators.

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