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Climate change may increase infectious disease, experts say

NEW YORK (Transatlantic Today) – The variety of ways that climate change is expected to impact human life and health is growing. 

According to a research published in Nature on Thursday, scientists now anticipate that global warming will considerably increase the frequency of viral transmissions among species in the future decades, creating a greater danger of infectious illnesses like COVID-19 to other humans and animals. 

According to the research, when global temperatures increase, many species of animals will likely relocate to new locations, bringing their pathogens and parasites with them and enabling viral exchange across species which previously had no contacts. This boost might help with “zoonotic spillover,” or disease transfer from wild animals to people. 

According to the scientists, climate change of 2 degrees Celsius, which is the worst-case scenario stated under the Paris Agreement, will result in at least 15,000 novel cross-species viral transmissions by 2070. 

While novel confrontations between species of mammals are presumed to transpire all over the globe, they are most likely to happen in tropical areas that are home to a large number of contagious diseases capable of zoonotic spillover transmission, such as Southeast Asia and tropical Africa, which also have a high human population density. 

Bats, which are believed to contain viruses with a high possibility of being communicable to humans, are expected to be the primary drivers of these new virus sharing events. 

Given that climate warming has already started, climate-driven adjustments in hotspots for species dispersion and virus evolution may already be occurring, according to the scientists. 

The World Health Organization assessed that the COVID-19 virus was most likely transmitted from animal to human. According to a report published by the WHO and Chinai  March 2021, the virus likely spread from a bat to other animals and then to humans.

The study suggests that global warming has the ability to become a dominant driving force in cross-species virus infection, potentially increasing the risk of infectious disease transmission to humans, according to the authors, who emphasize the importance of combining viral monitoring with evaluations of species range adjustments as a result of global warming. 

During the press briefing, Gregory Albery, a co-author of the paper and a disease ecologist at Georgetown University, remarked, “This is happening.”

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