The origins and future of sentinel: An early-warning system for pandemic preemption and response

Yolanda Botti-Lodovico, Parvathy Nair, Dolo Nosamiefan, Matthew Stremlau, Stephen Schaffner, Sebastian V. Agignoae, John Oke Aiyepada, Fehintola V. Ajogbasile, George O. Akpede, Foday Alhasan, Kristian G. Andersen, Danny A. Asogun, Oladele Oluwafemi Ayodeji, Aida S. Badiane, Kayla Barnes, Matthew R. Bauer, Antoinette Bell-Kareem, Muoebonam Ekene Benard, Ebo Ohomoime Benevolence, Osiemi BlessingChloe K. Boehm, Matthew L. Boisen, Nell G. Bond, Luis M. Branco, Michael J. Butts, Amber Carter, Andres Colubri, Awa B. Deme, Katherine C. Deruff, Younousse Diédhiou, Akhilomen Patience Edamhande, Siham Elhamoumi, Emily J. Engel, Philomena Eromon, Mosoka Fallah, Onikepe A. Folarin, Ben Fry, Robert Garry, Amy Gaye, Michael Gbakie, Sahr M. Gevao, Gabrielle Gionet, Adrianne Gladden-Young, Augustine Goba, Jules Francois Gomis, Anise N. Happi, Mary Houghton, Chikwe Ihekwuazu, Christopher Ojemiega Iruolagbe, Jonathan Jackson, Simbirie Jalloh, Jeremy Johnson, Lansana Kanneh, Adeyemi Kayode, Molly Kemball, Ojide Chiedozie Kingsley, Veronica Koroma, Dylan Kotliar, Samar Mehta, Hayden C. Metsky, Airende Michael, Marzieh Ezzaty Mirhashemi, Kayvon Modjarrad, Mambu Momoh, Cameron A. Myhrvold, Okonofua Grace Naregose, Tolla Ndiaye, Mouhamadou Ndiaye, Aliou Ndiaye, Erica Normandin, Ikponmwosa Odia, Judith Uche Oguzie, Sylvanus A. Okogbenin, Peter O. Okokhere, Johnson Okolie, Idowu B. Olawoye, Testimony J. Olumade, Paul E. Oluniyi, Omigie Omoregie, Daniel J. Park, Mariétou Faye Paye, Brittany Petros, Anthony A. Philippakis, Abechi Priscilla, Alan Ricks, Anne Rimoin, John Demby Sandi, John S. Schieffelin, Monica Schreiber, Mame Cheikh Seck, Sameed Siddiqui, Katherine Siddle, Allison R. Smither, Mouhamad Sy, Ngayo Sy, Christopher H. Tomkins-Tinch, Oyewale Tomori, Chinedu Ugwu, Jessica N. Uwanibe, Eghosasere Anthonia Uyigue, Dada Ireti Victoria, Anika Vinzé, Megan E. Vodzak, Nicole Welch, Haja Isatta Wurie, Daba Zoumarou, Donald S. Grant, Daouda Ndiaye, Bronwyn Macinnis, Pardis C. Sabeti, Christian Happi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


While investigating a signal of adaptive evolution in humans at the gene LARGE, we encountered an intriguing finding by Dr. Stefan Kunz that the gene plays a critical role in Lassa virus binding and entry. This led us to pursue field work to test our hypothesis that natural selection acting on LARGE—detected in the Yoruba population of Nigeria—conferred resistance to Lassa Fever in some West African populations. As we delved further, we conjectured that the “emerging” nature of recently discovered diseases like Lassa fever is related to a newfound capacity for detection, rather than a novel viral presence, and that humans have in fact been exposed to the viruses that cause such diseases for much longer than previously suspected. Dr. Stefan Kunz’s critical efforts not only laid the groundwork for this discovery, but also inspired and catalyzed a series of events that birthed Sentinel, an ambitious and large-scale pandemic prevention effort in West Africa. Sentinel aims to detect and characterize deadly pathogens before they spread across the globe, through implementation of its three fundamental pillars: Detect, Connect, and Empower. More specifically, Sentinel is designed to detect known and novel infections rapidly, connect and share information in real time to identify emerging threats, and empower the public health community to improve pandemic preparedness and response anywhere in the world. We are proud to dedicate this work to Stefan Kunz, and eagerly invite new collaborators, experts, and others to join us in our efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1605
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


  • Bioinformatics
  • Diagnostic tools
  • Ebola
  • Genomic surveillance
  • Infectious disease
  • Lassa fever
  • Lassa virus
  • Pandemic preemption
  • Pandemic response


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