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Climate change may have driven the emergence of SARS-CoV-2
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: February 10, 2021 12:24PM

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge
published in the journal/Science of the Total Environment/provides the
first evidence of a mechanism by which climate change could have played
a direct role in the emergence ofSARS-COV-2, the virus that caused
theCOVID-19 pandemic.

The study revealed large-scale changes in the type of vegetation in the
southern Chinese Yunnan province and adjacent regions in Myanmar and
Laos over the last century. Changes such as increases in temperature,
sunlight, and atmospheric carbon dioxide - which affect the growth of
plants and trees - have changed natural habitats, creating a suitable
environment for many bat species that predominantly live in forests.

The researchers created a map of the world's vegetation as it was a
century ago, using records of temperature, precipitation, and cloud
cover. They used information on the vegetation requirements of the
world's bat species to work out the global distribution of each species
in the early 1900s. Comparing this to current distributions allowed them
to see how bat ??species richness', the number of different species, has
changed across the globe over the last century due to climate change.

Most coronaviruses carried by bats cannot jump into humans. But several
coronaviruses are known to infect humans are very likely to have
originated in bats, including three that can cause human fatalities,
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) CoV, and Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) CoV-1 and CoV-2. The researchers echo the
call from previous studies urging policymakers to acknowledge the role
of climate change in viral disease outbreaks and to address climate
change as part of COVID-19 economic recovery programs.

Climate change may have driven the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 | University
of Cambridge
[www.cam.ac.uk]



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