Shifts in global bat diversity suggest a possible role of climate change in the emergence of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2
January 26, 2021
Beyer RM, Manica A, Mora C.
Science of the Total Environment
Beyer et al. examined the role of climate change in relation to local bat diversity and how this may have impacted the emergence of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2. Evidence of coronavirus strains in bats similar to SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 have suggested that bats were involved in the crossover event for the current pandemic. The research group determined the geographical ranges of bats at two time points, the beginning of the 20th century and currently, by identifying the different distributions of natural vegetation required by each bat species It was found that the Chinese Yunnan province, Myanmar, and Laos (along with more sparse patches in Central and South America) had become hotspots for bat proliferation as a result of rising temperatures. The authors recommend epidemiologists include climate change-induced shifts in the biodiversity of pathogen-carrying animals in their analysis of infectious diseases. They emphasize the necessity to preserve natural habitats and reduce human encroachment into wild-life to minimize crossover events, while maintaining that climate change underlies all of these issues.
Beyer RM, Manica A, Mora C.: Shifts in global bat diversity suggest a possible role of climate change in the emergence of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2. Sci Total Environ 2021; : 145413.