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For the next pandemic

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As the COVID-19 pandemic is heading for a confrontation with vaccines that are expected to be lost, many experts in the field of emerging infectious diseases are already focusing on the prevention of the next infectious disease:

They are afraid that another virus will leap from wildlife to humans. This is much more deadly, but it spreads as easily as SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. According to experts, such viruses can change the orbit of life on Earth.

“What keeps me up late is that another coronavirus, such as MERS, which has a much higher mortality rate, becomes as transmitted as COVID,” said Christian Walzer, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Stated. “That logistics and psychological trauma will be intolerable.”

The average mortality rate for SARS-CoV-2 is less than 1%, while the mortality rate for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which spreads from camels to humans, is 35%. Mortality rates for other viruses that have crossed species barriers to humans, such as bat-borne nipa, can reach as high as 75%.

Reina Proulite, a virus researcher at the Bozeman Institute for Ecology in Montana, said, “There are a great variety of viruses in nature and may have the Goldilocks trait of a highly lethal presymptomatic infection. There is sex. ” (Covid-19 is highly infectious before symptoms appear, but fortunately it is far less deadly than some other known viruses.) “It will change civilization.”

Therefore, in November, the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Wildlife Conservation Society aimed to avoid the next pandemic by helping world leaders understand killer viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. We held virtual conferences called One Planet, One Health, and One Future. And many other less deadly pathogens are released to the world by the destruction of nature.

As the epidemic of the coronavirus draws worldwide attention, infectious disease experts are doubling their efforts to show a strong link between nature, wildlife and human health. It’s a concept known as One Health.

This idea has been widely accepted by health authorities, but many governments have not incorporated it into their policies. Therefore, the conference, which was held at the same time as the conference of the G20, the world’s economic power, urged recognition of the threat that wildlife pandemics pose not only to people but also to the world economy.

Founded in 1895, the Wildlife Conservation Society, America’s oldest conservation organization, has worked with 20 other major conservation organizations to tell government leaders “very intact forests and other ecosystems.” They prioritize conservation and are working to end commercial wildlife trade and markets in particular. All illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade, not just human consumption, “they said recently. Said in the press release.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, experts estimate that it will cost about $ 700 billion to take these and other measures. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is estimated to have suffered $ 26 trillion in financial damage. In addition, the solutions provided by those campaigning to reach One Health’s goals also reduce the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss.

The increase in invasion of the natural environment with the proliferation of the world’s population can cause another deadly pandemic at some point, not according to experts, and can be much worse than COVID. When the animal or zoonotic virus spreads to humans, it causes about 75% of emerging infectious diseases.

However, wildlife around the world is home to a large number of potentially pathogenic viruses. Infectious disease experts estimate that there are 1.67 million viruses in nature. Only about 4,000 have been confirmed.

SARS-CoV-2 was probably derived from the Chinese turtle, and was then passed to humans via intermediate hosts such as the Pangolins, which are probably widely hunted and eaten scaly animals.

The source of SARS-CoV-2 is unknown, but the animal-to-human route to epidemics of other viruses such as Ebola, Nipa, and MERS is known. Viruses that circulate and mutate among wildlife, especially bats, are abundant and highly mobile around the world, allowing them to jump into humans to find receptive immune systems and cause the development of deadly infectious diseases. ..

“We have deeply penetrated the previously unoccupied eco-zone,” said Dennis Carroll, a veteran expert on emerging infectious diseases at the United States Agency for International Development. He has launched a global Virome project to catalog wildlife viruses to predict which viruses could ignite the next pandemic. “The poster’s child is oil, gas, minerals, and agriculture, especially the mining industry, which is the expansion of cattle. It is the number one predictor of where spillover is seen.”

When these things happened a century ago, he said the sick person probably died there. “Now infected people can fly to Paris or New York before they know they have it,” he said.

Meat consumption is also increasing, which means either livestock or “bushmeat” (wildlife) raised in felled forests. Both can lead to spillover. The AIDS virus is believed to have come from wild chimpanzees hunted for food in Central Africa.

One of the case studies of how the virus emerges from nature and becomes epidemic is the Nipah virus.

Nipa is named after a Malaysian village that was first identified in the late 1990s. Symptoms are cerebral edema, headache, stiff shoulders, vomiting, dizziness, and coma. It is extremely deadly, with a human mortality rate of as much as 75% compared to less than 1% for SARS-CoV-2. The virus did not become highly infectious among humans, so about 60 outbreaks killed only 300 people.

Due to one important property, Nipa was not widespread. “The amount of virus in Nipa, that is, the amount of virus that someone has in the body, increases over time,” said Prowlite of the Boseman Institute, who studied Nipa and Hendra, and is most infectious at death. said. (These are henipaviruses, not coronaviruses.) “With SARS-CoV-2, the viral load peaks before symptoms appear, so work and interact with your family before you notice the disease.”

The consequences would be catastrophic if an unknown virus, such as Nipa, which is deadly but transmitted, such as SARS-CoV-2, leap from animal to human before the infection is known.

Plowright is also studying the physiology and immunology of bat viruses and the causes of spillover effects. “There is a spillover effect because bats are stressed by habitat loss and climate change,” she said. “That’s when they’re drawn into the human realm.” In the case of Nipa, fruit bats attracted to orchards near pig farms infected pigs with the virus and then humans.

“It’s related to food shortages,” she said. “If bats are feeding in the primeval forest and nomads can move across the landscape and procure the food they need away from humans, there will be no spillover.”

A growing understanding of ecological changes as the cause of many illnesses is behind the One Health awareness campaign.

One health policy is expanding where human pathogens are likely to be present in wildlife and livestock. Doctors, veterinarians, anthropologists, wildlife biologists, etc. are trained and train others to provide sentry ability to recognize these diseases in the event of an outbreak.

Experts say that the scale of preventive efforts is far less than the threat posed by these pathogens. Government support is needed to recognize the problem and factor in possible epidemics and pandemic costs into development.

“Roads will facilitate the transportation of goods and people and create economic incentives,” said Walzer of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “But it also provides an interface for people to interact with, which increases the likelihood of spillover. This kind of cost has never been considered, and it needs to be changed.”

One Health’s approach also advocates large-scale conservation of nature in highly biodiversity areas where spillover risks.

Joshua Rosenthal, a global health expert at the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, said these ideas were conceptually sound, but very difficult. “All of these are managed with different interests by different agencies and ministries in different countries, and it is difficult to display them on the same page,” he said.

Researchers say the clock is ticking. “We have a high population density, a high livestock density, and a high rate of deforestation, which connects bats and people more closely,” Prowright said. “We roll the dice faster and faster. It’s really very easy.


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© 2021 Kaiser Health News.
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Quote: Obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-pandemic.html on January 5, 2021 for the next pandemic (January 5, 2021)

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