Wildlife trade in China likely triggered coronavirus spillover event: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 12, 2020 Published on August 12, 2020

Commercial wildlife farming in Vietnam also contributes to the expanding wildlife trade, say researchers

According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, human-wildlife contact with a bat or an intermediate host species in China likely triggered a coronavirus spillover event. This may have involved wildlife markets and led to the pandemic spread of SARS-CoV-2.

The pandemic risk of commercial trade in live wildlife was first recognised during the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

The authors of the study, including those from the Wildlife Conservation Society in the US, said that there is an amplification of coronaviruses along this wildlife supply chain, which poses a great risk for consumers of animal products.

The viral family of coronavirus jumps from different species of mammals to humans, posing a public health threat by unleashing an epidemic every decade.

Researchers also added that commercial wildlife farming in Vietnam also contributes to the expanding wildlife trade.

“This study shows the wildlife supply chain generates a one-two punch when it comes to spillover risk. It is known to increase contact rates between wildlife and people, and here we show how it greatly amplifies the number of infected animals along the way,” scientists said.

To mitigate the risk of the mass spreading of such viruses, the researchers suggested improving coronavirus surveillance in wildlife and implementing targeted wildlife trade reform.

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Published on August 12, 2020
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