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Paris : A study published Friday showed that global warming may have played a role in the transmission of the Corona virus that causes Covid-19 to humans by providing new habitats for bats that are supposed to be the source of the virus.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have modeled the existence of groups of different species of bats using temperature and precipitation data to determine the location of the type of vegetation that makes up their habitat, for this study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences.
According to these models, over the past 100 years, 40 species of bats have seen favorable conditions for their presence in an area along southern China, Burma and Laos.
Destroying ecosystems keeps humans and animals in close contact
Since each type of bat carries an average of 2.7 corona viruses, hundreds of these different viruses must be circulating in this region, hence the hypothesis of the origin of the SARS-Cove-2 virus from them.
“We are far from saying that an epidemic would not have appeared without global warming. But it seems difficult to say that this increase in the number of bats and in the corona viruses they carry makes it less likely,” lead author of the research, Robert Mayer, told France Press.
The researcher said that the exact chain of transmission of the SARS-Cove-2 virus has not yet been determined, but climate change and the destruction of ecosystems are making humans and animals in greater contact. ”These are two sides of the same coin, we are penetrating their habitats deeper and at the same time it can drive climate change. Pathogens toward us. ”
Several scientists who were not involved in the study indicated that the origin of the epidemic has multiple sources.
Kate Jones, Professor of Environment and Biodiversity at University College London, commented that “Transits (from animals to humans) are the result of complex mechanisms. Climate change certainly has a role to play by modifying the location of species. But the increase in the population of a group and the degradation of habitats through agriculture can play a role. Larger”.
For his part, Paul Valdez, a professor of environmental geography at the University of Bristol, pointed out that the researchers “show that climate change may have had an impact on the species in Yunnan, but it is more than 2000 km away from Wuhan,” where the epidemic appeared in China.