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Covid-19 is just a wake-up call

National Geographic docu-special Virus Hunters, a chilling chronicle of the heroic experts on the front lines to stop the next deadly pandemic

Premiering in November 2020, Virus Hunters to serve as companion special to National Geographic magazine's single-topic November issue on Covid-19
Covid-19 is just a wake-up callCovid-19 is just a wake-up call

With the world gripped by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, it is not easy to think about what could be next. But those on the front lines of science suggest the worst could still be to come. 

So, what can we do to prevent the next contagion before it is too late? Around the world, researchers are racing to prevent disaster, and their efforts represent the most critical scientific mission of a generation. With deadly new viruses on the rise and happening more frequently in recent years, National Geographic presents Virus Hunters, produced by American Broadcasting Company (ABC) News’ Lincoln Square Productions. Premiering Wednesday, 25 November 2020 at 9pm CAT on National Geographic (DStv 181, StarSat 220), Virus Hunters will reveal the raw and chilling stories of those heroic experts currently searching to identify the chain of events that could cause the next global pandemic. 

Christopher Golden
Christopher Golden

National Geographic fellow, epidemiologist and ecologist Christopher Golden is on a mission to connect the dots on culture, disease and the environment to discover the patterns that cause global health crises. ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman has seen the global ravages of Covid-19 firsthand and will use his investigative experience to find the answers to urgent questions the public is yearning for. Together, Golden and Longman will embark on an epic journey across continents to meet with the brave scientists on a quest to not only understand and stop the Covid-19 outbreak, but also prevent the next deadly pandemic.

The chain of events that sets off a pandemic can be broken - remove one domino and you can prevent the loss of millions of lives. Virus Hunters will follow explorers Golden and Longman as they process through airports, hail taxis and navigate through every human interaction that has been tainted by the current global pandemic. 

With infections and deaths spiking around the world, they will join the urgent fieldwork of these Virus Hunters at the forefront of science and exploration who are willing to risk it all to unlock these human virus mysteries and are currently posted in potential hot zones: Liberia, Thailand, Turkey and the United States:
  • Jim Desmond, disease and wildlife interventionist
  • Supaporn Wacharaplusadee, virus gene tracker
  • Kendra Phelps, badass bat scientist
  • Rohit Chitale, researcher for US Defense Department/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Kendra Phelps
Kendra Phelps

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected people in so many ways. The virus continues to sweep across the globe, impacting communities, economies and entire states. Virus Hunters chronicles the heroic efforts of those on the front lines who are working tirelessly to prevent this from happening again,” said Evert van der Veer, Vice president, media networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa. 

Virus Hunters will serve as a documentary companion special to the single-topic November issue of the magazine focusing on Covid-19. For more of National Geographic’s coverage of Covid-19, visit

Recognised worldwide for its award-winning journalism and photography, National Geographic has been covering the Covid-19 pandemic extensively in the magazine and digitally, tackling the biggest science story of our generation. Recent stories include "How Some Cities “Flattened the Curve” During the 1918 Flu Pandemic"; "How the New Coronavirus Surges Compare to New York City’s Peak”; and How We’ll Know When a Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready”.

Virus Hunters will air globally on National Geographic Channel in 172 countries in 43 languages. 

Virus Hunters is produced by Lincoln Square Productions for National Geographic. For Lincoln Square Productions Jeanmarie Condon and Drew Pulley are co-executive producers. For National Geographic, executive producer is Bengt Anderson, vice president of production is Matt Renner, senior vice president of production and development is Alan Eyres and executive vice president of National Geographic unscripted entertainment is Geoff Daniels. 

National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivalled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, Nat Geo People) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of the world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now it is committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for consumers… all while reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month. NGP returns 27 percent of its proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or

Lincoln Square Productions

ABC News’ Lincoln Square Productions (LSP) specialises in deeply-reported storytelling for multiple platforms including National Geographic, A&E, Lifetime, Hulu, ABC, Disney+, Netflix and PBS. Productions have included the death row docu-series “The Last Defense” from Viola Davis, National Geographic's "America Inside Out with Katie Couric," Disney+ original series "Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2" about a year inside the Walt Disney Animation Studios and “Rogue Trip” with Bob and Mack Woodruff, the archival series "1969," “The Genetic Detective” with investigative genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, Investigation Discovery series “The Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin” and A&E's "Shining a Light" produced in partnership with Pharrell Williams, John Legend and Alicia Keys and popular series “What Would You Do?”. LSP also develops scripted projects from fact-based stories and with partners including ABC Studios and A&E Productions. LSP has produced dramas including the ABC miniseries "Madoff" starring Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner and Lifetime’s "The Lost Wife of Robert Durst" starring Katherine McPhee.

How to tune in:

DSTV: Channel 181

StarSat: 220 on DTH, 220 on DTT (249 on DTT in Uganda)

18 Nov 2020 10:51