The Biology of Virus Spillover

Sara L. Sawyer, Ph.D.

BioFrontiers Institute
University of Colorado Boulder

The Biology of Virus Spillover

Sara L. Sawyer, Ph.D.

BioFrontiers Institute
University of Colorado Boulder

We study how animal viruses start infecting new species, including humans.  An example is the emergent virus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.  We also study HIV (which came from chimps) and dengue viruses (which came from monkeys), but have published research on the spillover of many other animal viruses as well.

Virus spillover is an outstanding example of evolution in action that informs us about biology more generally. After years of studying this topic, we now find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic caused by a spillover virus.