New Study Reveals Global ‘Hot Spots’ Where New Coronaviruses May Emerge | News

June 2, 2021 0 Comments



Human encroachment into natural habitat can also indirectly increase exposure to zoonotic disease by reducing valuable biodiversity, found the study

Highlights
  • The exact origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus remain unclear
  • Horseshoe bats are known to carry a variety of coronaviruses
  • Horseshoe bats are observed in areas characterised by human disturbance

Washington: Global land-use changes including forest fragmentation, agricultural expansion and concentrated livestock production are creating ‘hot spots ‘ favourable for bats that carry coronaviruses and where conditions are ripe for the diseases to jump from bats to humans, finds a new study. The findings were published by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan) and the Massey University of New Zealand. While the exact origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus remain unclear, scientists believe that the disease likely emerged when a virus that infects horseshoe bats was able to jump to humans, either directly through wildlife-to-human contact, or indirectly by first infecting an intermediate animal host, such as the pangolin, sometimes known as the scaly anteater. Horseshoe bats are known to carry a variety of coronaviruses, including strains that are genetically similar to ones that cause COVID-19 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Also Read: WHO’s Team Tracing the Origin Of COVID-19 Is Back From China; Experts Explain Why It Is Important To Find The Source Of The Outbreak

The new study used remote sensing to analyze land-use patterns throughout the horseshoe bat’s range, which extends from Western Europe through Southeast Asia. By identifying areas of forest fragmentation, human settlement and agricultural and livestock production, and comparing these to known horseshoe bat habitats, they identified potential hot spots where habitat is favourable for these bat species, and where these so-called zoonotic viruses could potentially jump from bats to humans. The analysis also identified locations that could become easily become hot spots with changes in land use.

Land use changes can have an important impact on human health, both because we are modifying the environment, but also because they can increase our exposure to zoonotic disease, said study co-author Paolo D’Odorico, a professor of environmental science, policy and management at UC Berkeley.

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“Every formal land-use change should be evaluated not only for the environmental and social impacts on resources such as carbon stocks, microclimate and water availability but also for the potential chain reactions that could impact human health,” Paolo added.

Most of the current hot spots are clustered in China, where a growing demand for meat products has driven the expansion of large-scale, industrial livestock farming. Concentrated livestock production is particularly concerning because the practice brings together large populations of genetically similar, often immune-suppressed animals that are highly vulnerable to disease outbreaks, the researchers said. The analysis also found that parts of Japan, the north Philippines and China south of Shanghai are at risk of becoming hot spots with further forest fragmentation, while parts of Indochina and Thailand may transition into hot spots with increases in livestock production.

Also Read: COVID-19 Variant First Reported In India Threatens To Rapidly Spread In Sub-Region: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The analyses aimed to identify the possible emergence of new hot spots in response to an increase in one of three land-use attributes, highlighting both the areas that could become suitable for spillover and the type of land-use change that could induce hot spot activation,” said study co-author Maria Cristina Rulli, a professor in hydrology and water and food security at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. Maria added, “We hope these results could be useful for identifying region-specific targeted interventions needed to increase resilience to coronavirus spillovers.”

Human encroachment into natural habitat can also indirectly increase exposure to zoonotic disease by reducing valuable biodiversity. When forest lands become fragmented and natural habitats are destroyed, species that require very specific habitat to survive, called “specialists,” may dwindle or even go extinct. Without competition from specialists, “generalist” species, which are less picky about their habitat, can take over. Horseshoe bats are a generalist species and have often been observed in areas characterized by human disturbance. Earlier work by Rulli, D’Odorico and study co-author David Hayman has also linked forest fragmentation and habitat destruction in Africa to outbreaks of the Ebola virus.

Also Read: COVID-19 Infection Not Taken Serious Shape Among Children, Can Impact If Changes Nature: Dr VK Paul

By creating conditions that are disadvantageous to specialist species, generalist species are able to thrive, D’Odorico said.

“While we are unable to directly trace the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from wildlife to humans, we do know that the type of land-use change that brings humans into the picture is typically associated with the presence of these bats who are known to carry the virus.”

While China has been a leader in tree planting and other greening efforts over the past two decades, many of the trees have been planted in discontinuous land areas or forest fragments. To tilt the ecological balance back in favour of specialist species, creating continuous areas of forest cover and wildlife corridors are more important than increasing total tree cover.

Human health is intertwined with environmental health and also animal health, D’Odorico said.

D’Odorico added, “Our study is one of the first to connect the dots and really drill down into the geographic data on land use to see how humans are coming into contact with species that might be carriers.”

Also Read: Coronavirus Strain Found In India, B.1.617 Named “Delta Variant”: WHO

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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World

17,11,79,099Cases

5,89,42,261Active

10,86,71,879Recovered

35,64,959Deaths

Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,11,79,099 and 35,64,959 have died; 5,89,42,261 are active cases and 10,86,71,879 have recovered as on June 2, 2021 at 4:02 am.

India

2,83,07,832 1,32,788Cases

17,93,6451,01,875Active

2,61,79,085 2,31,456Recovered

3,35,102 3,207Deaths

In India, there are 2,83,07,832 confirmed cases including 3,35,102 deaths. The number of active cases is 17,93,645 and 2,61,79,085 have recovered as on June 2, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

57,61,015 14,123

2,33,498 22,680

54,31,319 35,949

96,198 854

Karnataka

26,18,735 14,304

2,98,320 15,431

22,90,861 29,271

29,554 464

Kerala

25,46,339 19,760

2,02,828 4,551

23,34,502 24,117

9,009 194

Tamil Nadu

21,23,029 26,513

2,96,131 5,650

18,02,176 31,673

24,722 490

Andhra Pradesh

17,04,388 11,303

1,46,737 7,058

15,46,617 18,257

11,034 104

Uttar Pradesh

16,92,709 1,221

32,465 4,579

16,39,572 5,625

20,672 175

Delhi

14,26,863 623

10,178 862

13,92,386 1,423

24,299 62

West Bengal

13,85,801 9,424

78,613 8,435

12,91,510 17,722

15,678 137

Chhattisgarh

9,73,349 1,886

33,127 2,614

9,27,145 4,471

13,077 29

Rajasthan

9,40,960 1,002

37,477 5,177

8,95,033 6,114

8,450 65

Gujarat

8,10,730 1,561

29,015 3,330

7,71,860 4,869

9,855 22

Madhya Pradesh

7,81,108 1,078

20,303 3,087

7,52,693 4,120

8,112 45

Odisha

7,73,732 8,735

78,914 2,397

6,92,027 11,095

2,791 37

Haryana

7,57,868 1,233

16,280 2,300

7,33,205 3,453

8,383 80

Bihar

7,07,935 1,174

14,251 1,985

6,88,462 3,100

5,222 59

Telangana

5,80,844 2,493

33,254 830

5,44,294 3,308

3,296 15

Punjab

5,69,756 2,149

33,444 2,989

5,21,663 5,039

14,649 99

Assam

4,15,898 4,682

52,680 361

3,59,802 4,992

3,416 51

Jharkhand

3,38,383 609

8,058 849

3,25,325 1,449

5,000 9

Uttarakhand

3,30,475 981

27,216 1,155

2,96,762 2,091

6,497 45

Jammu And Kashmir

2,92,360 1,895

33,276 1,819

2,55,145 3,682

3,939 32

Himachal Pradesh

1,91,251 921

12,407 1,214

1,75,663 2,097

3,181 38

Goa

1,56,569 903

11,867 896

1,42,031 1,777

2,671 22

Puducherry

1,05,432 979

10,709 438

93,173 1,403

1,550 14

Chandigarh

60,154 108

1,481 286

57,915 389

758 5

Tripura

52,545 571

6,248 299

45,772 864

525 6

Manipur

51,549 798

8,942 151

41,782 629

825 18

Meghalaya

36,065 467

6,606 307

28,867 760

592 14

Arunachal Pradesh

27,642 370

3,772 17

23,754 352

116 1

Nagaland

21,854 174

4,725 209

16,744 374

385 9

Ladakh

18,750 88

1,581 33

16,979 120

190 1

Sikkim

15,626 309

3,992 29

11,377 334

257 4

Mizoram

12,634 235

3,243 98

9,347 133

44 4

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,300 14

285 40

10,011 54

4

Lakshadweep

8,166 89

1,567 235

6,566 324

33

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,018 13

155 16

6,745 26

118 3





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