Multi-Species Farming, Viral Diversity, And Risks Of Cross-Species Transmission In The Central Highlands Of Viet Nam

The Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID)

Principal Investigator
Dr Nguyen Van Cuong

01 May 2021 – 31 Dec 2022

This project aims to answer the question: “How do species diversity influence viral diversity and the risk of cross-species transmission on multi-species farms?”


We hypothesize that: (i) viral diversity and cross-species transmission will increase with species diversity on multi-species farms, (ii) the presence of both wildlife and livestock species on a farm will be associated with increased viral diversity, and (iii) the diversity of viruses with zoonotic potential will increase with species diversity on multi-species farms.

To test these hypotheses, we will access a unique sample set from farms in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam, where a variety of wildlife (e.g., deer, bamboo rats, civets, wild boars, rabbits, and porcupines) and domestic species (e.g., chickens, ducks, cats, pigs, goats) have been farmed both together and separately. Multi-species farms create new interfaces between wildlife, domestic animals, and people that may provide opportunities for cross-species transmission of viruses to occur.


  1. Estimate the frequency of viral sharing between animals of different species under multi-and single-species farming conditions and identify ‘risky’ viruses that commonly cross the species barrier.
  2. Identify environmental and ecological factors associated with variations in viral prevalence, diversity, or rates of cross-species transmission of ‘risky’ viruses.
  3. Identify farm management policies and practices to increase awareness and reduce the risk of cross-species transmission of viruses associated with multi-species farms.


  1. Characterise the viral diversity in samples from animals housed on single and multi-species farms using a combination of metagenomics and PCR-based screening.
  2. Identify viruses with known or predicted zoonotic potential using ecological and phylogenetic methods. Estimate these viruses’ distribution, prevalence and relatedness across animal species and farms.
  3. In collaboration with the public engagement department at OUCRU, engage in a two-way dialogue with the farming community and government stakeholders in the Central Highlands about potential disease risks associated with wildlife and multi-species farming.



Dr Cadhla Firth

Peter Daszak

Dr Peter Daszak


Hongying Li


Ecohealth Alliance

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