The Global Virome Project is a global cooperative scientific initiative to massively lower risk of harm from future viral outbreaks over 10 years.



GVP is a ten-year project to pre-empt emerging pandemic threats by identifying the majority of unknown viruses throughout the world that are likely to infect humans.


GVP will revolutionize the way we think about emerging infectious disease, including biomedical countermeasures and food security.


GVP will deliver multiple, quantifiable and observable benefits to the world as well as move epidemiological science into the future.

Fighting outbreaks before they happen makes good sense.


The frequency of pandemics is increasing, driven by rapid demographic and environmental change and globalized trade and travel. SARS, MERS, Ebola, pandemic influenza and Zika outbreaks have shown that we are ill-prepared to mitigate the impact of a novel virus or prevent its emergence – leaving humanity vulnerable to catastrophe.

Responding to pandemics after they start costs tens of billions of dollars, not to mention the human lives lost in the process. We propose a global initiative to identify 99% of all high-consequence viruses in wildlife hosts that are most likely to carry the next pandemic so that we can characterize the ones most likely to become zoonotic.

Dennis Carroll of USAID, Jonna Mazet of the UC Davis One Health Institute and Nathan Wolfe of Metabiota discuss the Global Virome Project with moderator Larry Brilliant of the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

With many of the technologies and protocols already in place through years of work on USAID’s PREDICT Project, we estimate that it would cost $3.4 billion over 10 years to accomplish the goal. That total cost is dwarfed by the money spent on past outbreak responses like SARS ($16 billion), pandemic influenza ($570 billion per year) and others.

Researchers estimate that barely 1% of global viral threats have been identified, and even fewer have been addressed through vaccines or counter measures. The Global Virome Project would dramatically change that, and in doing so would offer a proactive approach to infectious disease that focuses on potentially deadly viruses before an outbreak occurs.



Metrics for success and quantifiable results.


GVP will improve the speed, scope and efficiency of outbreak response, strengthen surveillance and lab networks and pave the way for new tools for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease.

The result will be a dramatic increase in data for wildlife conservation, which will create opportunities for follow-up research in virology, diagnostics, therapeutics, epidemiology, ecology, prevention and behavior change and intervention. Our teams will develop best practices for viral handling, storage and containment and we will train a cohort to become the next generation of health professionals. 

The Global Virome Project will also create opportunities to improve legal, regulatory and policy frameworks for global health surveillance and biodiversity. 


The Global Virome Project will:

  • Identify 99% of unknown viruses that could jump from wildlife and livestock hosts to people
  • Determine the geographic and host range of detected viruses
  • Classify the risk of spillover and epidemic potential using virologic, behavioral, epidemiologic and ecologic data on detected viruses and their hosts
  • Create a global surveillance network through local and global capacity enhancements
  • Develop an open-access database and biobank
  • Identify intervention targets, mitigation options and markers for transmission
  • Provide insights into virus biology and ecology, as well as conservation benefits