Virus Spillovers and Future Pandemics: The Case with Africa, Others
Over the past few weeks, tales of a possible future pandemic from viral spillovers abound in the media. Read to find it out how it could play out.
A recent report predicts a dire future. Viruses from bats could be forced to leap between species in the next fifty years. They could be made to jump between species, after they’ve be forced to leave their traditional habitats. They will be forced to leap between species, just like the virus scientists speculate jumped into humans in Wuhan China, triggering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viruses from rats could also be made to infiltrate other species. They could be forced to jump into humans too, especially when people turn their habitat for agriculture. They could be forced to engage in crossover journeys when humans destroy their shelter for urban expansion, enabling them to encounter species they had not previously encountered, and some say this situation already takes place.
Life cycle of malarial parasite, Credit: Blogsbiomedcentral.com
Parasites from mosquitoes could also face the same situation. Parasites from ticks could experience the same condition in increasing dimensions, jumping from insects to insects and from insects to man and from insects to other animals. The same thing could happen with parasites from blood-sucking vendors such as fleas, especially with a rise in their numbers, changing the world as we know it, with neighborhoods and forests filled with lots and lots of fleas.
According to a new report, neighborhoods in the future may not only be filled with lots and lots of fleas, they could also be filled with lots of ticks. They could also be filled with bats, since the ecosystem of present-day shakes. Species could be filled with viruses from other species they had never encountered, with parasite transfer very common among species, and the phenomenon on the rise between animals and people, as the face of where humans and animals live changes in a radical transformation. In this scenario, experts predict 15,000 instances of viruses leaping between species, and it may happen if humans hesitate to stem the situation within the next fifty years.
Heat waves and climate change, Credit:The Swaddle
The culprit remains climate change. The same old culprit of climate change persists to be the cause, making many species to relocate, as the planet heats up through rising temperatures. The issue rests on the shoulders of climate change, bringing a greater heat in the coming years, which in turn could bring a change in geographic range to 3,139 mammal species, a situation compounded by land use changes. Even if land use changes come a halt today, or nations bring global warming to under 2C within this century, the situation might not halt the movement of species, as animals could still be forced to move due to the present level of heat, and the culprit remains climate change.
Grave consequences could occur under such a scenario. Grave consequences could happen in the coastal areas of Nigeria, which shows the inability to tackle infectious diseases ranging from cholera, Lassa fever, Ebola, the COVID-19 pandemic, and others. Grave consequences could occur in the West Africa sub-region, as more people could come into a contact with infected animals, with high-elevation areas particularly at a risk. Grave consequences could happen to the entirety of the African continent, where the leadership shirks from investments in epidemic preparedness and response, where government officials focus on building infrastructural projects only of a big political capital than meaningful ones, where a very high level of policy inconsistency at the leadership level exists.
Prevelence of Dengue fever in Africa, Credit: Break Dengue
With thousands of instances of viruses leaping between species in the African continent, lots of people could be a risk of infectious diseases. Lots of people could be exposed to insect-borne diseases such as malaria, Dengue Fever and water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and hepatitis. To make the matter worse, lots of people could be at risk of further pandemics, with the climate change helping to fuel a potentially devastating spread of diseases that could imperil animals and people and risk further pandemics.
The same scenario stares Asia at the face, according to the new report about the possibility of future pandemics over the climate change. The same terrible future awaits Asia, and it could center upon the high-elevation areas of the continent too. The same prediction affects China and other countries in the region, where a lack of monitoring hampers the tracking of viruses, where monumental and mostly unobserved transformations occur within the ecosystem, where millions shy away from keeping their eyes on the dynamic situation taking place before their eyes.
As the planet heats up, the face of diseases in Asia could show alterations. The pattern of illnesses in countries such as China and India and Pakistan could vary, with the residents there becoming sicker. With viruses jumping between species, zoonotic spillovers could rise. Zoonotic spillovers could charge a devastating spread, creating another pandemic at the level of COVID-19. Zoonotic spillovers could arrive with parasites and pathogens, shaking the Asian ecosystem to its foundations, making innumerable hot-spots of zoonotic activities taking place at the same time.
Cross species transmission of coronavirus, Credit: Frontiers
According to scientists, at least 15,000 cross-species transmission events of viruses could happen between now and 2070. The 15,000 cross-species transmission events could be fuelled by animals such as bats, which possesses the capacity to migrate over large areas. The 15,000 cross-species transmission events will not be preventable, even in the best-case climate change permutation, and since urban and agricultural expansion will occur on a world-wide basis, continents such as Europe may not be spared the travails of a future pandemic due to the curse of the climate change.
Of course, most of the risk of future pandemics could rest on the African continent. Lots of challenges could emanate in places like the coastal areas of Nigeria, where a lack of monitoring could make it problematic to track the progress of the leaping viruses. Much of the risk could rest on Asia, with strains of coronavirus already moving among the bat population, awaiting opportunities to jump into humans. Still, Europe stands at a risk also, as effects on the economy could be devastating, since it could, not unlike COVID-19 affect both the continent’s demand and supply, creating a crisis with a huge degree of uncertainty.
Definitely, Latin America and Australasia stand the risk associated with future pandemics. Already, Latin America suffers, even though the crisis phase of COVID-19 recedes. Latin America’s ecosystem appears shaky, with Goldman Sachs anticipating a 3.8 percent contraction in its economy. Latin America faces a complex condition also, with Goldman Sachs expecting a 3.4 percent decline in the Brazilian economy, a 4.3 percent drop in the case of Mexico, a 3.4 percent contraction with Argentina.
Diminishing Amazon Forest, Credit: BBC
Along with effects arising from future pandemics,. Situations could grow desperate. As the world heats up, thousands of viruses could leap across species in the rapidly diminishing Amazon forest. As they leap across species, more people could be exposed to them, especially as they migrate out of the Amazon. As humans become exposed to parasites and other forms of dangerous pathogens, pandemics could happen, resulting in more families in Brazil living below the poverty line, fuelling an increase in the poverty rates, ending in capital flight.
In essence, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Australasia stand to be hurt if nothing is done now while climate change continues to encourage viruses to leap across species due to heat-induced migrations.
Perhaps nations should build infrastructures to protect the animal population. Health infrastructures should be created to safeguard the human population, and investments made in primary pandemic prevention strategies. Health infrastructures should come into place in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the rest of the places, as drastic actions to address global heating won’t be enough to halt the risk of zoonotic spillovers already taking place under people’s noses. Health infrastructures should emerge to cope with the forces shaking ecosystems to their core, transforming the face of diseases, causing interactions between species likely spreading illness, threatening the health and well-being of man and beasts in the near future.
Vaccine manufacturing, Credit: Institute for Global Change
Developed nations should help places like the coastal areas of Nigeria. For instance, they could promote African vaccine manufacturing. They could expand Asian vaccine manufacturing, transferring knowledge to countries lacking it within the region. They could promote the capacity to enable billions of people survive through pandemic preparedness and response to the possible coming dangers. They could evolve survival techniques, matching commitments to surveillance and the reporting of viruses, support reforms of pandemic preparedness, work towards international cooperation on global health.
When nations cooperate in relation to global health, they will be able to maintain a surveillance on the viruses leaping between species. When they maintain a surveillance, they could plan mitigation measures in case of devastating occurrences, like the case of COVID-19. When they plan mitigation measures, zoonotic spillovers could be contained, halting the spread of pandemics to imperiled animals and humans, lessening effects of a desperate situation, curtailing threats to billions of people. Through curtailment, humanity will bravely face the instances of viruses leaping between species over the next 50 years.