Remember that the vast majority of viruses are exclusive to one species. But with the amount of viruses circulating, this has left, through all ages, a large number who, by chance, have been able to pass on to another species. And sometimes us. The learner’s name is animal originAn infectious disease transmitted from animals to humans. The COVID-19 pandemic is a zoonotic disease, although we are not yet sure of the original animal.
By changing the area, the animal can thus intersect with an animal it has not met before. Does it increase the chances of disease transmission across species? Yes, answer researchers who have built a mathematical model of the 3,139 species of mammals and the 40,000 viruses – known to date – to which they are hosts, as well as their current and potential movements, in the next 50 years. Their conclusion is that in the next 50 years, we can expect 4,500 cases in which a virus, or even several viruses, could pass from one species to another. Article It was published on April 28 in the magazine temper nature.
Multiple options, multiple risks
Until now, biologists who were interested in this question have been going one virus at a time: Will it survive such an environmental change, does it have mutations that could make it able to “jump” to another species.
However, the scale of the problem – these 4,500 possibilities – is just that Warning sign for humans. When researchers assessed where these problematic species might migrate, in 50 years, they found that the vast majority were areas where our cities are expanding. for example, note in The New York Times Pathologist ecologist Gregory Alberi, co-author of the study, small rodents that had had little contact with humans until then could have passed their virus on to raccoons that lived comfortably in urban areas.
In fact, it has already begun, since the figures of the last century revealed that 60% of the new epidemics that hit us They are zoonotic diseases. The possible result of unprecedented contacts, in the twentieth century, between humans and certain animal species, such as bats in Southeast Asia.
By the way, the researchers note, there is concern about the effect of these new viruses on humans, but we should not forget that for an already fragile group of animals, a new virus against which the immune system is not prepared, can have a devastating effect. Effect.
Journalist Ed Young uses the word “pandemic.” —We have entered an “epidemic era,” in which large numbers of new hosts transmit old viruses, perhaps even new ones. This mode was created by the collision of two impacts that humans have on nature: climate change and Loss of wildlife habitat. Young concludes that this situation lies at the crossroads of three of our existential concerns: “climate change, pandemics, and Sixth mass extinction of life on earth. “Those three concerns are actually the same big problem.” As we emerge from a pandemic, he warns, it is best not to underestimate the importance of improving Prepare for the next…
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