Climate change could induce more COVID like outbreaks!

As we all are aware that human induced activities that are meddling with the natural ecosystem are impacting our planet in so many ways. The global temperature is rising alarmingly and directly affecting humans. The rise in sea levels, frequency of natural calamities, and other negative impacts on several sectors are pointing towards the urgency for immediate action.


Human activities haven't only risked their lives by deteriorating the environment but thanks to activities like rapid urbanisation, deforestation and hunting have pushed several wildlife species to the verge of extinction. The rising population has forced humans to occupy the wildlife regions and also the continuous warming of the world has disrupted the wildlife ecosystem. 

A recent study published in Nature Journal revealed that the planet could witness more virus outbreaks like COVID by 2070 thanks to the impacts of global climate change. The researchers mentioned that the increase in global temperature is changing the wildlife ecosystem and will result in the migration of several species within the coming 70 years. The study highlighted that rising temperature could lead to over 15,000 new cases of mammals spreading viruses to other mammals during the following 50 years. It's one of the primary to forecast how heating may alter wildlife habitats and increase contact between pathogen-swapping species, moreover calculating what number of times viruses are projected to hop across species. 

The research examined over 3000 mammal species that possibly could migrate over the subsequent 50 years because the current heating rate could increase the common global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. This migration can increase the amount of contact with humans and will spread deadly diseases from animals to humans. The cross-species virus spread will happen over 4,000 times among mammals alone, the study reported. Many researchers believe that the COVID-19 pandemic began when a previously unknown virus moved from a wild animal to an individual. This transfer of viruses from animals to humans is known as zoonotic transmission. The study cautions that a forecasted increase in viruses hopping between species might spark more outbreaks, posing a big threat to both human and animal health – all the more reason for governments and health officials to require action. 

The model studied by the scientists suggests that by 2070, temperature changes are driving many mammal species to cooler regions, where they'll meet for the primary time and will exchange viruses. If Earth warms by 2 °C, they say, the regions with the very best chance of virus sharing will overlap with areas of the dense human population, including parts of India and Indonesia that may increase the danger of pathogens transferring to people. Researchers said that each one of the viruses wouldn’t grow to be pandemics but there's a high spreading risk of cross-species viruses to humans. “Bats will contribute strongly to transmitting viruses among species within the future”, the study finds. ​​ Possible measures to scale back the danger The researchers within the study have noted that this rate of carbon emissions and rise in global temperature could possibly give birth to a brand new COVID like outbreak but the adoption of the possible measures may help in reducing this risk.

Possible measures to reduce the risk

The lead researcher Albery said that several factors could reduce the danger to human health, including increased investment in health care or a virulent disease being unable to infect humans for a few reasons. But the researchers urge that there's no time to waste as Earth has already warmed by quite 1 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. This is often driving species migration and disease swapping. “It’s happening and it’s not preventable, even within the best climate-change scenarios,” she added. The researchers appealed to the governments and also the international community to boost the monitoring and surveillance of untamed animals and zoonotic diseases, particularly in future hotspots like Southeast Asia. Improving health infrastructure is additionally essential, they say. 

As people begin to arrange for and adapt to warming, most efforts specialise in activities like halting deforestation or reinforcing sea walls but the study suggests that pandemic preparedness and disease surveillance also are climate-change adaptation measures.

Written By:

Manvender Pratap Singh

Manvender is a passionate content creator with a journalism degree who has a knack for developing human-interest content. In the past, he was involved with a National News Channel and a video production company and has experience in writing, designing and video production.

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