Meet the Winners of the 2020 Best Article Award From FEMS Pathogens and Disease

29-01-21 cameronw1986

Cristiano Salata, Arianna Calistri, Cristina Parolin and Giorgio Palù from the Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova (Italy) are the winners of the 2020 article award from the FEMS Journal Pathogens and Disease. Their winning paper is titled Coronaviruses: a paradigm of new emerging zoonotic diseases.

We interviewed Cristiano, Arianna, Cristina and Giorgio to find out more about the paper and their answers can be found bellow.


Cristiano Salata (top left), Cristina Parolin (top right), Arianna Calistri (bottom left) and Giorgio Palù (bottom right)

Could you provide a brief, simple overview of the topic your paper covers?

The paper is focused on the main information available back then on human coronaviruses and on the lesson we learnt from SARS (2002-2003) and MERS (2012) outbreaks. Main take-home messages of the paper are as following: i) the research activity promoted by SARS and MERS emergencies provides knowledge and useful tools to face SARS-CoV-2 pandemic; ii) the establishment of global networks of surveillance for the rapid identification of potentially dangerous viruses is urgent in order to prevent new spill over events; iii) the constant improvement of the available techniques and the development of novel technological platforms are crucial steps towards the fast setting up of diagnostic and therapeutic/preventive tools.”


Why is it important to understand the origins of zoonotic diseases?

Understanding the origins of a zoonotic disease is a key step for the containment of its spreading as well as for the prevention of new spill over events from the animal reservoirs to humans. Furthermore, it is important to analyse the evolutionary pathways that enable animal viruses to overcome the intra species barrier, thus becoming able to replicate in humans and, in the worst-case scenario, to spread efficiently in the new host population.”


What encouraged you to perform research in this area of microbiology?

The global emergency due to the novel type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) appeared in China highlights the high zoonotic potential of coronaviruses and the need of international collaboration to block viral spread.

Emerging and re-emerging infectious agents are one of the priority research topics in the field of Virology, especially under the one-health point of view. Indeed, changes due to human activities and world globalization are promoting the spreading and the emergence/re-emergence of new and old pathogenic viruses in the human population. Under this respect, the high genetic diversity of coronaviruses and their ability to jump from bats (their natural reservoir) to other animals, humans included, render these viruses particularly interesting to study by adopting a multidisciplinary approach.”


What do you see as the next steps in this area of research?

We can foresee that this research field will continue to be a priority for the international scientific community promoting the viral surveillance and the development of tools and therapeutics to avoid new pandemics.”


Read the 2020 award winning paper: Coronaviruses: a paradigm of new emerging zoonotic diseases

See more FEMS Journals Article Awards

Share this page