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Increased risks of viruses spread by mammals

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    11th May, 2022

Context

A study published by Nature journal has predicted that the rising temperatures and rapid climate change across the globe is likely to drive 15,000 new instances of viruses being transmitted from mammals to mammals by 2070.

About

Key highlights of the study:

  • A majority of the 10,000 virus species that have the capacity to infect humans are moving silently in the wild mammals at present.
  • As the temperature rises, several animal species will abandon their native places and move to cooler land where they will meet several other new species for the first time. This will give rise to virus-transmission among mammals.
  • A rise in viruses jumping between species will trigger more outbreaks like the Covid-19 pandemic, posing a serious threat to human and animal health alike.
  • The hotspots of virus-jumping will be regions with species-rich ecosystems (particularly areas of Africa and Asia) and areas that are densely populated by humans - India and Indonesia.
  • The transfer of viruses and pathogens from animals to humans will take place in densely populated regions of the world.
  • This process has likely already begun, and will continue even if the world acts quickly to reduce carbon emissions and poses a major threat to both animals and humans.
  • Thought to be part of the origins of Covid-19, bats are believed to be reservoirs of viruses and will go through virus transmission regardless of climate change.
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