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By Peter Rabinowitz and Greg Gray

Governments and individuals are taking unprecedented, often very austere actions to control the ongoing spread of the pandemic coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). However, they are neglecting an extremely important question that could cause the loss of millions of more lives — how do we prevent the next zoonotic respiratory virus pandemic?

We have not yet identified the source of this virus. What if a new version emerges from the original animal source to cause a second wave of this pandemic?

There are three things we need to do next to help prevent another SARS pandemic.

• Fully investigate the animal origins of the COVID-19 outbreak.

About three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in recent decades have come from animals. SARS-CoV-2 is the third recent zoonotic coronavirus to cause an epidemic of severe human disease.

Read the entire op-ed at The Seattle Times. Peter Rabinowitz, co-author, is a Professor of Global Health and Director of the UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security.