Researchers: ‘Global Warming Skyrockets Cross-Species Virus Transmission'

Published May 1st, 2022 - 10:00 GMT
Researchers: ‘Global Warming Skyrockets Cross-Species Virus Transmission'
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A research paper published in the British scientific journal Nature has predicted that the novel cross-species of viruses can transmit an estimated 4,000 times at high elevations, in biodiversity hotspots, and areas of high human population density in Asia and Africa.

“At least 10,000 virus species can infect humans, but at present, the vast majority are circulating silently in wild mammals,” the journal stated in the article Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk, published on Thursday.

But, the alteration in climate and land utilization will create new opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated wildlife species, the article noted.

“In some cases, this will facilitate zoonotic spillover—a mechanistic link between global environmental change and disease emergence,” it added.

Mentioning that the researchers made a simulation to try out how this whole process will get in shape, the article stressed: “Projections of geographic range shifts for 3,139 mammal species under climate change and land-use scenarios for the year 2070.”

Describing bats to be much more dangerous compared to other mammal types in terms of carrying numerous kinds of viruses and transmitting all these to humans because of their unique dispersal capacity, the article urged for viral surveillance.

“Surprisingly, we find that this ecological transition may already be underway, and holding warming under 2-degree Celsius within the century will not reduce future viral sharing,” said the research article.

It further underlined urgent viral surveillance and discovery efforts with biodiversity and called for surveys to track species’ range shifts, especially in tropical regions that harbor the most zoonoses and are experiencing rapid warming.


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