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Bloodborne: Hot Zones, Disease Ecologies, and the Changing Landscape of Environment and Health in West Africa

“Bloodborne” is a research project supported by a European Research Council Advanced Grant (2021–2026). It deals with a multi-perspective view of pandemic threats. Using the example of West Africa, Prof. Dr. Gregg Mitman and his team examine the ecological, economic, political, and social forces that have turned certain regions of the world into profitable enclaves for the exploitation of natural resources and their biodiversity into valuable reservoirs for biomedical research. At the same time, these regions are considered hot spots for the emergence of new types of infectious diseases that have kept the world on tenterhooks. The project will focus on the question of how economic interests of the Global North have, on the one hand, produced new insights into the ecology of diseases, but, on the other hand, changed the environment and the species structure in such a way that new pathogens have been able to thrive.