How climate change is 'creating' a new era of infectious disease danger
The Paper, July 22, 2022
Scott Weaver, director of science at Galveston National Laboratory, told The Paper that he believes a Nature study more formally confirms what many virologists intuitively suspected: that climate change will redistribute many habitats for zoonotic virus hosts, promoting the risk of virus cross-species transmission. In addition, the concentration of less diverse animal populations in smaller areas may facilitate zoonotic outbreaks, which would increase the risk of epidemics spreading to humans. However, Weaver also said that it is difficult to pinpoint climate change as “conclusive evidence” of known cross-species shifts, as several other important factors are involved, such as deforestation and land use. “We need better monitoring of viruses and their hosts to identify projected changes in virus distribution before we can directly determine the direct impact of climate change on humans,” he said.