Fighting killer diseases
A pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. Flu is the most well known - the 2009 swine flu pandemic killed over 200,000 people worldwide.
Pandemics can have a devastating effect on the lives of people and animals around the world.
Pandemics to watch out for
New viral threats to both human and animal populations are continually emerging and re-emerging across the world, such as flu, Zika and Ebola.
Pandemics in animals, like African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue, can have devastating effects on the livelihood of farmers and the welfare of animals. There are also some viruses that can also jump from animals to humans with major consequences for health, such as bird or swine flu and Nipah virus - these are termed ‘zoonotic’ diseases.
It is critical that scientists have the knowledge and tools to help prevent and control highly infectious diseases of animals and people which could become pandemics. Research is being undertaken across a number of different areas.
What is Pirbright doing?
- Predicting pandemics
- Disease destruction
- Responding to outbreaks
- Developing vaccines
Diagnostic tests are able to reveal which type of virus you are dealing with, where it is likely to have come from and whether similar viruses have previously been identified. This information helps us to decide which control method will work best against that specific virus and how long counter-measures are likely to take to develop.
Surveillance then enables us to track the spread of a virus, which can involve vets and farmers reporting potential cases, or systematic sampling of animals. Mathematical modelling can be used to both predict where the virus may move next and assess the impact of control measures. We can then use this information to target global hotspots with control measures that can prevent the spread of disease.
If an effective vaccine can be developed and given to enough animals then this can stop the spread of a virus in its tracks. But it must be done quickly!
In a global outbreak of a virus, deciding when and how to develop vaccines is a difficult challenge. We have to work out how the virus infects new hosts, how fast it might spread and how deadly it is, but also balance this against the cost of development and deployment.
Can you stop Pandemic-X?
Open the app and follow the Pandemic-X game instructions on how to prevent a pandemic in a network of farms. Use the control methods available to you and see how quickly you can stop the spread of disease. Good luck!
Mobile installation instructions
The game can be played in any web browser but is best when installed on your mobile device.
Open the game, then press the share button (iOS) or menu button (Android) and then choose "Add to home screen". See the images below and follow the blue arrows:
Once that is done, close your browser and you can launch the game full-screen from your device home screen.