ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of scientists at Los Alamos National Lab are using New Mexico resources to search and study pathogens, like what we saw in the COVID-19 pandemic. Inside the doors at the Museum of Southwest Biology are close to 12,000 tissue samples that scientists like, Romero-Severson, who works for Los Alamos National Laboratory are now studying.

“We have a huge collection of animal tissue samples spanning all over the world going back decades,” said staff scientist, Ethan Romero-Severson. He says his team will use these samples to predict pandemics. “This is particularly useful because a lot of the diseases that we’ve seen now that we’re most concerned with like SARS 1 and SARS 2 are so called zoonotic diseases,” said Romero-Severson.

The team got the idea before COVID but since 2020 worldwide interest in pandemics has grown. The National Science Foundation recently created the Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention Program giving LANL thousands of dollars to study everything in the museum. Potentially creating new opportunities for scientists in New Mexico. This grant only lasts for one year, after that they plan on applying for a second phase.