As Climate Makes Animals Migrate, 1000s of New Viruses Will Hop To Humans

"“We can’t put this one back in the bottle,” said the researcher behind a recent study about the spread of zoonotic diseases."

"Long before the world had ever heard of Covid-19, Colin J. Carlson and a team of researchers began work on a study that explored how climate change and the destruction of wildlife habitats might affect how diseases are spread from animals to people. Their first draft included a reference to a hypothetical pneumonia outbreak of unknown origin.

“We know that species are on the move—we know that probably has relevance to other viruses,” said Carlson, an assistant professor of biology at Georgetown University. “And for a while, we really wanted to get into what does that mean for human health? What does it mean for pandemics?”

What it meant, Carlson and his co-authors found, was that it may already be too late to limit the spread of zoonotic spillover—when diseases move from animals to humans—because of climate change.

Over the next 50 years, the spread of pathogens between humans and animals in the wild will lead to the transmission of about 4,000 new viruses between species, their research found, and increase the risk of global pandemics."

Victoria St. Martin reports for Inside Climate News June 7, 2022.

Source: Inside Climate News, 06/08/2022