"Piecing Together the Next Pandemic"

"From a small lab in Cambodia, Dr. Jessica Manning is on the lookout for emerging diseases."

"Covid-19 arrived in Cambodia a year ago, on Jan. 23, when a Chinese national flew in from Wuhan, the city where the illness was first detected, and soon fell sick with a fever. A P.C.R. test to detect the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, came back positive. With that news, the disease had officially pierced the borders of another nation.

For Cambodia, a developing country with a rudimentary health care system and multiple direct flights from Wuhan, the new disease seemed to present an especially high risk.

Dr. Jessica Manning, a public health researcher with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who had been working in Cambodia for years, also saw an opportunity: helping the country join the global effort to watch for new diseases.

Dr. Manning ran nasal and oral samples from the patient through a genetic sequencer, a device that reads the letters that make up an organism’s genome; the sequencer was a recent addition to her lab at the Cambodian government’s parasitology department in Phnom Penh. “I couldn’t wait for the sequences to come off the sequencer,” Dr. Manning recalled. “It was sheer giddy excitement.”"

Amos Zeeberg reports for the New York Times February 16, 2021.

Source: NYTimes, 02/18/2021