Since the appearance of the virus on the Wuhan market in China in 2019, 3 million deaths have been recorded worldwide. We tend to forget it, but Covid is a zoonosis: a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans.
According to the WHO, 60% of human infectious diseases are zoonoses. Around the world, researchers and scientists are monitoring animal epidemics very closely.
Read also: Covid-19: “It was animal abuse that led to this situation”
In the Amazon, the hunt for viruses
In Brazil, veterinary researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz de Manaus Foundation are categorical: all the conditions are met in the Amazon for a “viral explosion”, reports FranceInfo. Deforestation indeed promotes contact between viruses trapped deep in the forest and humans.
“It is in the Amazon,” explains one of these scientists, “that there is the greatest risk of a new virus emerging, and this risk is infinitely greater than what we saw in Wuhan. Because ‘the forest here contains more viruses and more environmental degradation than elsewhere in the world. ”
Researchers watch for the emergence of unknown viruses before they spread. Their goal is to anticipate and plan a vaccine if possible.
Read also: Covid-19: why is the Brazilian variant so worrying?
In Kenya, we watch the dromedaries
In southern Kenya, the International Livestock Research Institute (Ilri) is studying a virus called Mers-CoV in camels, reports AFP. This virus, also a coronavirus, was transmitted from camels to humans via close contact 9 years ago in Saudi Arabia.
The epidemic claimed hundreds of lives between 2012 and 2015, mainly in Saudi Arabia. Symptoms in humans were similar to those caused by Covid, but the much more deadly disease killed one in three patients.
The current pandemic has renewed interest in zoonoses, according to Ilri researchers. This allowed the Institute to have new funding and thus to maintain the research work.