RUSH Researchers Featured in New 'Virus Hunt'

Series showcases efforts to 'stop the next problematic virus in its tracks'
Alan Landay, PhD

RUSH researchers are featured in a new mini-documentary series that follows the work of the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition, a global virus surveillance coalition that was established in 2021 to detect future pathogen outbreaks that could become pandemics.

Following months of planning and interviews, the newest episode showcases the work and partnership between RUSH and Abbott tracking viruses through rats, wastewater and other known carriers of disease. Warner Bros. is running digital teasers on several of its websites, including CNN, Discovery and Science.

RUSH is the first U.S. location in the Abbott worldwide network of partners that provide laboratory testing, genetic sequencing and public health research to analyze the potential risk level of newly identified pathogens and understand the public health impact of the pathogens identified in real time.

“The Virus Hunt is a content series that shows the work the coalition is doing to stop the next problematic virus in its tracks,” said Alan Landay, PhD, professor and vice chairperson for research in the Department of Internal Medicine at RUSH Medical College and principal investigator of the research at RUSH. “We have worked with Abbott on developing diagnostics not only against COVID, but in hepatitis, HIV and other viruses, in a long and very productive history in doing these clinicals.”

The series also captures the work that is being done at the sites in South Africa, India and Colombia.

The coalition is the first-of-its-kind, industry-led partnership that unites 20 scientific and public health organizations to identify, track, and respond to known and emerging viral threats to help prevent the next pandemic.

From searching for COVID-19 variant changes in Cape Town, to trekking down the Amazon River in Colombia to capture mosquitoes thought to be behind a spike in fever-based illnesses, and on to Chicago and RUSH University is working with Abbott to create surveillance detection systems that flag emerging virus activity — the series takes viewers to the front lines of virus hunting.

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